Thesis Statements Scarlet Ibis

An effective opening, or hook for The Scarlet Ibis would be to discuss the relationship between brothers.  One question that the story asks is whether brothers can also be friends. 

Clearly in this story, there are conditions that prohibit the two brothers from being equals.  Doodle is handicapped and Brother, as the older sibling has a difficult time understanding Doodle's limitations. He is ashamed of his little brother's lack of ability to run and jump while he thoroughly...

An effective opening, or hook for The Scarlet Ibis would be to discuss the relationship between brothers.  One question that the story asks is whether brothers can also be friends. 

Clearly in this story, there are conditions that prohibit the two brothers from being equals.  Doodle is handicapped and Brother, as the older sibling has a difficult time understanding Doodle's limitations. He is ashamed of his little brother's lack of ability to run and jump while he thoroughly enjoys running and jumping. 

A good bridge, or comparison in the story is to link Doodle with the Scarlet Ibis, the rare red bird of the title.  Doodle and the bird have alot in common.  The bird is symbolic for Doodle's inner beauty.  Although Doodle is physically deformed, his inner spirit is beautiful. 

"The fact that Doodle is the only member of the family to care for the scarlet ibis enough to bury it shows his compassionate heart and emphasizes a symbolic link between boy and bird. This symbolic link is confirmed when Doodle dies on the same day as the bird and in a way that mirrors its fate."

Pride

“The Scarlet Ibis” takes a hard look at the consequences of pride. The knowledge that his baby brother may be not only physically weak but also cognitively disabled is such a blow to the six-year-old narrator’s pride that he contemplates smothering the infant with a pillow. Only a smile of recognition from the prone baby convinces him the child’s intellectual development is progressing normally and halts thoughts of murder. For the first years of Doodle’s life, the narrator attempts to dissociate himself from his brother. To avoid having to continue publicly chauffeuring his sibling, who he says is “a sight” with a too-big sunhat in a go-cart, he intentionally oversets the vehicle, injuring Doodle. When rough treatment fails to keep Doodle from clinging to him, the narrator accepts that he will be associated with his brother. As a result, he begins working to eliminate the sources of shame he identifies in Doodle. The narrator insists Doodle continue his program of exercise despite the spell of fevers and nightmares the younger boy begins to experience. The narrator appears motivated by both fear of shame (he is aware that Doodle’s first day of school is coming) and a prideful admiration of his younger brother’s growth and determination, which have overcome all the doctor’s predictions. Ultimately, it is this pride that causes him to push Doodle too far. The younger boy, exhausted from weeks of exercise, can’t keep up and dies in the attempt. Though the narrator has clearly come to love his brother, his pride blinds him to Doodle’s limitations, and his fear of shame seals Doodle’s fate.

Expectations and Acceptance

The narrator, six years old at the time of Doodle’s birth, has pinned his hopes on a brother who will be a playmate and companion in his adventures. He cannot conceive of anything less than the brother he envisions—and when presented with Doodle, whom he sees as a poor substitute, he contemplates murder. He is inflexible; he prefers no brother to one that doesn’t meet his expectations, and he spends the next few years trying to dissociate himself from his sibling. When this fails, he attempts against all odds to mold Doodle into something closer to the brother he hoped for. Blinded by the vision of who...

(The entire section is 943 words.)

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