Discovering the Theme of The Scarlet Ibis

As I recently read “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, I found myself captivated by the story’s intricate plot and powerful imagery. However, what truly stood out to me was the underlying theme that resonated throughout the narrative.

The theme of the story is the destructive nature of pride. This theme is evident from the beginning of the story as the narrator describes his younger brother, Doodle, who is born with a physical disability. The narrator feels ashamed and disappointed in his brother because he cannot run and play like other children. His pride is wounded, and he begins to push his brother beyond his physical limits in an effort to make him “normal.”

As the story progresses, we see how the narrator’s pride becomes more and more destructive. He forces Doodle to learn how to walk, swim, and even climb a tree, all while ignoring his brother’s protests and signs of exhaustion. The narrator’s pride is so great that he refuses to accept Doodle for who he is, and instead, tries to mold him into someone he can be proud of.

However, this quest for perfection ultimately leads to tragedy. In the final moments of the story, the narrator’s pride causes him to push Doodle too far, leading to his brother’s untimely death. The narrator is left alone and broken, realizing too late that his pride and desire for perfection had ultimately led to his brother’s downfall.

“The Scarlet Ibis” is a poignant reminder of the destructive nature of pride. It shows how our desire to be perfect and to make those around us perfect can lead to tragedy and heartbreak. As we strive to achieve our goals and dreams, we must remember to accept and love those around us for who they are. Only then can we truly find happiness and fulfillment in life.

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