illustration of a scarlet ibis cradling a boy's body

The Scarlet Ibis

by James Hurst

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What outside connections can be made to "The Scarlet Ibis"?

Quick answer:

The lesson learned from Doodle and Brother can be applied to persevering in any endeavor. The story can be used to make personal connections about perseverance, but it is not the only thing that readers will connect with on an outside level.

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The outside connections that a reader can make from this story will vary slightly from reader to reader depending on how personal the connections made to the story are. My recommendation for making connections beyond the story is to examine themes within "The Scarlet Ibis ." One theme that...

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I tend to focus on with my students is the theme of perseverance. Perseverance can be seen in Doodle and Brother. Brother simply refuses to give up on Doodle. Everybody believes that Doodle won't be able to do much of anything, but Brother can't bring himself to believe that. He works tirelessly to help Doodle. Brother isn't always kind to Doodle, but persevering doesn't require a constantly positive attitude. Doodle also perseveres throughout the story. Brother's efforts would be for naught if Doodle simply refused to give effort. I think an important lesson can be learned about "can" and "can't" from these two characters. Everybody believes that Doodle can't, but Brother and Doodle prove that he can through continual hard work. This attitude can connect to all kinds of things in your life. Think about how you can persevere and work hard with school work, sports, musical instruments, summer jobs, relationships, etc. If the attitude from the beginning is "I can," then your chances of success are already off to a better start.

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There are several connects that could be made with the short story The Scarlet Ibis when looking at the themes of the text.  One of the largest themes is the idea of pride and love, and how they can sometimes conflict with one another.  Brother helps Doodle because he is embarassed that he cannot do basic physical activities; of course he loves Doodle, but Brother does not help him for unselfish reasons. An outside connection that could be made is when one helped another person for selfish reasons, though it may have been veiled as kindness or love. 

Another theme that could be used to make an outside connection is the idea of being different. Doodle and the scarlet ibis are both very different from what is considered "normal" in their current environment, and those differences eventually lead to their respective deaths. Think about a time when being different was very difficult and led to a sacrifice or other difficulty.   

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