The Scarlet Ibis

5323 WordsMay 18, 201322 Pages
The Scarlet Ibis JAMES HURST Adapted from: Elements of Literature: Third Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 2003. It was in the clove of seasons, summer was dead but autumn had not yet been born, that the ibis lit in the bleeding tree.1 The flower garden was strained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank2 amid the purple phlox. The five o'clocks by the chimney still marked time, but the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle. The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softy the names of our dead. It's strange that all this is still so clear to me, now that summer has…show more content…
Crawling backward made him look like a doodlebug,7 so I began to call him Doodle, and in time even Mama and Daddy thought it was a better name than William Armstrong. Only Aunt Nicey disagreed. She said caul babies should be treated with special respect since they might turn out to be saints. Renaming my brother was perhaps the kindest thing I ever did for him, because nobody expects much from someone called Doodle. Although Doodle learned to crawl, he showed no signs of walking, but he wasn't idle. He talked so much that we all quit listening to what he said. It was about this time that Daddy built him a go-cart and I had to pull him around. At first I just paraded him up and down the piazza,8 but then he started crying to be taken out into the yard, and it ended up by my having to lug him wherever I went. If I so much as picked up my cap, he'd start crying to go with me and Mama would call from where she was, "Take Doodle with you." He was a burden in many ways. The doctor had said that he mustn't get too excited, too hot, too cold, or too tired and that he must always be treated gently. A long list of don'ts went with him, all of which I ignored once we got out of the house. To discourage his coming with me, I'd run with him across the ends of the cotton rows and careen him around corners on two wheels. Sometimes I accidentally turned him over, but he never told Mama. His skin was very sensitive, and he had to wear a big straw hat whenever he went out.

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