The Short StoryScarlet Ibis, By James Hurst

1017 Words5 Pages
Atychiphobia is the fear of failure. An abundance of people spend the majority of their lives attempting to prevent failure, although it is ultimately inevitable. When individuals attempt to cope with the repercussions of failure, they may experience feelings of unworthiness, disappointment of loved ones, and a desperation for them to be successful which can result in them overwhelming themselves to the point where it may harm them mentally or physically. In the short story “Scarlet Ibis,” by James Hurst, the narrator's younger brother Doodle experiences failure since the moment he is born, making everyone have low expectations for him. He strives hard to exceed these expectations which ultimately results in his death.

Failure is accompanied with many negative emotions such as disappointment, despair, guilt, and unworthiness. These emotions can cause individuals to feel unpleasant mentally and physically. When faced with a feeling of unworthiness, an individual may attempt to “make up” for the failure by tackling a nearly impossible task. Doodle felt unworthy because he was different that the other children, he pushed himself to incredible lengths just to be considered normal. In order to achieve this Doodle would “swim until he turned blue and row until he couldn't lift another oar” (5). The risk of being physically harmed did not even occur to Doodle because his priority was to live up to the high expectations his brother had set for him. After being unsuccessful an

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