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Character Anyalsis of Doodle's Brother in The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst

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Pride can be good or bad as the narrator of “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst learns. He remembers his brother, Doodle and the lesson he learns about the difference between good and bad pride. Born between summer and autumn, Doodle, a vivacious, disabled boy who is the narrator’s brother, might not be all there, and then, one day he smiles. Doodle learns to crawl backwards and the narrator teaches him how to walk at a very late age. Doodle’s brother makes a plan for Doodle to learn how to do all the things a normal boy can do, but they are constantly halted by Doodle being sick and his brother being at school. Then, one airy day Doodle and his brother watch a Scarlet Ibis die in disarray during dinner. After the summer-long drought, the rain finally comes, Doodle and his brother are coming back from the lake, but Doodle can’t keep up with his brother. Doodle’s brother waits at the house for Doodle, but Doodle never comes back. Doodle’s brother demonstrates character traits such as pride, hope, and selfishness.

Doodle’s brother makes his pride evident through his actions toward Doodle when he is teaching Doodle to walk. Doodle’s brother says, “But all of us must have something or someone to be proud of, and Doodle had become mine” (337). Doodle’s brother admits he had become proud in Doodle and that he taught Doodle how to walk. The author could have implied that Doodle’s brother was ashamed that he was proud in Doodle because of what that pride does to Doodle. Doodle’s brother tells us that “It was Saturday noon, just a few days before school was about to start. I should have already admitted defeat, but my pride wouldn’t let me” (340). The narrator is saying that his pride is uncontrollable and would not allow him to give up on ...

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... all their voices; and that Doodle walked only because I was ashamed of having a crippled brother” (337). The narrator says “(…) I was ashamed of having a crippled brother” (337). He looks back and realizes that he was embarrassed of Doodle, that his selfishness drove him to teach Doodle to walk. He acted without thinking of his actions and consequences. Doodle’s brother was embarrassed and even planned to kill Doodle when he was younger because of the humiliation. Consequently, his selfishness would not let him see the possibility of his brother’s future.

Throughout “The Scarlet Ibis,” Doodle’s brother exhibits ample amounts of pride, hope, and selfishness. He may have never had any atonement for what he did, but at least he knows now what caused him to force Doodle to try so hard. But, above all everything Doodle did was to be accepted by and please his brother.