Scarlet IbisBy James Hurst
James HurstOnce asked the meaning of the story, Hurst replied, I hesitate to respond, since authors often do not understand what they write. That is why we have critics. I venture to say, however, that it comments on the tenacity and the splendor of the human spirit.
Scarlet IbisTropical bird rarely found in North Carolina, where the story takes place.Hurst refers often to plants and animals native to his hometown and to the setting of the short story.
the ibis lit in the bleeding tree
The garden was stained with rotting brown magnolia petals
What is the mood and what words cue you to the mood? What are their connotations?
The mood is somber or sad.Words like dead, bleeding, graveyard, stained, rotting, rank, untenanted, empty etc. The connotation of the words brings up images of death or dying which is paired with a few words in the opening that resemble life such as cradle and born.
What does the line mean speaking softly the names of our dead?
Sweet gardenias are often planted in graveyards because they bloom every year.The flowers are reminding us that the dead rest in those graves every year. What does this line foreshadow?
What is the difference between crazy crazy and nice crazy?Nice crazy- someone exciting, full of life, like someone you meet in your dreams.
Why does Aunt Nicey say Doodle would live?Doodle was born in a caul which were made from Jesus nightgown. A caul is a thin membrane that covers the head of some babies at birth. Indicates the person will have a special destiny
Why does the father have a coffin built for Doodle right after he was born?
Doodle was, from the outset, a disappointment. Doodle is born sick, red and shriveledWhy would parents have a coffin built for their child after his birth?
Why does the name William Armstrong only sound good on a tombstone?
It was like tying a big tail on a small kite.A strong name deserves a strong individual to represent it. No one thought Doodle was strong, because of the way he was born; therefore, he did not deserve the name.
What does the narrator want in a brother?He wants a brother he can run, jump, swim, play with, etc.
What does it say about the narrator and why would he makes plans to smother his brother, Doodle, with a pillow?
He is angry about not having a brother he can play with. He feels wronged.
What does the narrator mean by "he became one of us?Doodle joins the rest of the family in the living room.Doodle conforms and becomes a real part of his family, but only after learning to crawl.
Why do they refer to Doodle like he is one of their ancestors?
No one expects much of Doodle. Do not have faith in his survival.
What is implied in the line "caul babies turn out to be like saints?
Foreshadowing Doodles nature
What are the conflicts in the story and what type of conflicts are they?
Internal Conflict: Narrator vs. Himself in that he wants a real brother, but does not have one that fits that mold which causes him internal turmoil.External Conflict: Conflict developing between the brothers.
Why does the narrator take Doodle to Old Woman Swamp?
Narrator has decided that Doodle was my brother and he was going to cling to me forever. Narrator accepts the relationship with his brother.
There is within me a knot of cruelty borne by the stream of love, much as our blood sometimes bears the seed of our destruction, and at times I was mean to Doodle..." What does this line mean? In your journal, explain a time when you have been mean to someone you love and why?(Worth 10 points)
Why does the narrator make Doodle touch the casket?Narrator wants to punish Doodle for the way he was born, for not being a normal brother.
"Don't leave me." What is implied in Doodle's phrase and what is the tone?Desperate for the love of his brother.
What is the narrator's motivation in teaching Doodle to walk?Narrator is embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldnt walk.
Journal:How is pride a terrible or wonderful thing? How does it bear both life and death?(Worth 10 points)Discuss a time when pride caused you to do something that seemed selfless to others, but was actually selfish.
What is an allusion and why does the author refer to the Resurrection?
An allusion is a reference to another work of literature, story, person, etc. and is meant to add meaning to the reading.Doodles growth is miraculous and he is a wholly good and saintly person.
What does the line mean "They did not know I did it for myself...
Pride made the narrator teach Doodle to walk at first, but then he realizes that his pride is what motivated him, not the love of his brother.
What do Doodle's stories say about him?
His stories show his desire to fly and his desire to be comforted and loved and enfolded by others. The sunflowers turn to look at him, to admire him.
What is the narrator's new plan concerning Doodle?The narrator plans on teaching his brother, based on his previous success, to run, swim, climb trees, and to fight.
What does the line "no rain and the crops withered" foreshadow?
Why are the children frightened when their father puts his head down when looking at the damage to his land?
. What does the line mean "Do you want to be different from everybody else when you start school?" What does this say about Doodle and the narrator?
Fitting in is important to the narrator.Doodle responds, Does it make any difference?Doodle cares more about his brother than fitting in with classmates.
Why is Doodle so shocked by the Ibis dying? How might Doodle look like an Ibis?
What is significant about Doodle wanted to bury the bird but his mother telling him no because he might have a disease?
How does the storm represent the crisis of the story, the turning point?
A bad storm can change the course of things. The storm represents the inner turmoil the narrator feels.
Why does the narrator feel "that streak of cruelty within me awaken?Doodle had failed his training, failed as a brother, failed to comform, which caused the cruelty in the narrator to awaken, stemming from his pride.
What happens to Doodle? Why did the narrator stop running to then look back for Doodle?
Doodle dies. He is hit by lightning. The narrator realizes what he has done and his childish fit fades.
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