Why is "The Scarlet Ibis" so memorable?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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"The Scarlet Ibis" is so memorable because it shows the sentiments of a brother who felt that his little brother Doodle was a burden. The narrator or older brother shares a candid, upfront narrative that puts him in a bad light. He is so honest about his true feelings in having a handicapped little brother.

The narrator does not pretend to be happy about having a handicapped little brother. He shares explicit details related to the embarrassment he had while Doodle was getting ready to begin school. The narrator refuses to allow Doodle to be a burden. He teaches him to walk and even run.

Although the narrator is sometimes cruel to his little brother, especially when he made Doodle touch the little coffin, there is another layer of truth that unfolds. The narrator dearly loves his little brother. As a child himself, the narrator's embarrassment of Doodle was a natural feeling. He did not desire for the school children to make fun of Doodle. Yes, he was embarrassed, but underneath the embarrassment, the narrator has developed a bond with Doodle. This bond is revealed when Doodle falls in the rain storm to his death. The narrator cannot stop crying as he stretches himself over Doodle's dead body:

Brother goes back and finds Doodle dead. He has been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt are red with blood. The position of his body is reminiscent of that of the scarlet ibis. Brother recognizes the link between the ibis's fate and Doodle's. He weeps, sheltering Doodle's body from the rain with his own.

No doubt, "The Scarlet Ibis" is a love story that sadly ends with Doodle's death. Two brothers became so close until they were inseparable. Even in death, their two bodies are as one as the narrator shelters Doodle from the pouring rain.


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