James Hurst's Short Story 'The Scarlet Ibis'

Decent Essays
Imagine having a brother who is incapable of doing anything for himself. James Hurst’s short story tells the tale of a young boy in this position and the way his mindset is. In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis,” James Hurst uses imagery, setting, and motif to convey Brother’s feelings of guilt. By using these literary elements, Hurst allows the readers to take a deeper look into Brother’s perception towards Doodle at the time.

Hurst uses imagery to show how Brother feels guilt for causing Doodle to die. “I ran as fast as I could, leaving him far behind with a wall of rain dividing us.” Brother remembers when Doodle says “Brother, Brother, Don’t leave me! Don’t leave me!” Brother feels guilt for leaving Doodle once before. When Brother runs away from Doodle, he is not actually running away from him, he is running away from the guilt which Doodle causes him to feel. Brother looks at Doodle and feels guilty for leaving him at a time of trouble before. Hurst uses the rain as a way to symbolize guilt and sorrow. “‘ What are you crying for’ They did not know that I did it for myself, that pride, whose slave I was, spoke to me louder than all their voices.” In this scene, Hurst shows the guilt in this scene using imagery by showing us Brother crying. This is Hurst’s way of showing us guilt. When Brother cries, it is because he feels guilty of his motivation. His only reason for helping Doodle was because he was ashamed of “having a crippled brother”.
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