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Seeds of Destruction in Rocking Horse Winner and Scarlet Ibis
Family relationships can, in many cases, bear the "seeds of destruction" that lead to the downfall of other family members. This is evident in Paul's relationship with his mother in "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence, and in Doodle's relationship with his brother in the short story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst. Both Paul and Doodle are controlled by a relationship within their family that pushes them too hard, causing their deaths.
Doodle is controlled by his brother with fear on several separate occasions. When they were younger, Brother took Doodle into the barn loft and showed him the coffin they had made, expecting him to die as a baby. Doodle becomes extremely frightened, and doesn't want to touch the coffin. Brother makes him touch it, by threatening to leave him alone if he doesn't. In response to the threat, Doodle cries, "Don't leave me, Brother," (p 3) and touching the casket, screams. Brother uses fear to control his younger brother, forcing him to do cruel things. In the other story, Paul also is controlled in family relationships. His mother puts great strain on him by being financially irresponsible, and living beyond their means. Paul feels the strain, and is influenced by it to take the pressure away. Also, Paul's mother did not love him. This is a controlling factor because he works extra hard to gain her love.
The family relationships with both Doodle and Paul also push them beyond their limits. Doodle is forced to learn to walk through Brother's determination. "Shut up, I'm not going to hurt you. I'm going to teach you to walk," his brother has said before heaving him up to try again. Brother's pride pushes Doodle to be like the other children, causing them to set unattainable goals of rowing, climbing, and swimming. Doodle is stretched to exhaustion through these exertions.
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