"The Scarlet Ibis"

By: Leticia Lozano

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Short Synopsis

Our narrator, a grown man, tells us about his memories of Doodle, his younger brother. We jump into the past as the narrator begins his story about his brother.

The narrator is six years old when Doodle is born. Doodle is born sickly, and everyone but Aunt Nicey thinks he will die. Daddy even buys Doodle a coffin. When Doodle has lived for two months, Mama and Daddy name him William Armstrong.

Read the rest of the story to find out what happens next...

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Meet the Author JAMES HURST

James Hurst

Musical Beginning James Hurst grew up in North Carolina on a farm near the sea. After attending North Carolina State College and serving in the United States Army during World War II, he studied singing at the famous Juilliard School of Music in New York. Hoping for an operatic career, Hurst went to Italy for additional study, but he soon abandoned his musical ambitions. In 1951, he began a 34-year career in the international department of a large New York bank.

Literary Breakthrough During his early years at the bank, Hurst wrote and published short stories and a play, mostly in small literary magazines. "The Scarlet Ibis" was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in July 1960 and won the "Atlantic First" award that year. Quickly recognized as a classic, the story has appeared in virtually every high-school literature textbook series published since the late 1960s.

His Own View Today, Hurst lives not far from the place in North Carolina where he was born. In his garden grow many of the flowers mentioned in "The Scarlet Ibis." Hurst says that there are three "characters" in the story—Doodle, the narrator, and the setting, which comments on the inner action. When asked about the meaning of the story, Hurst once replied, "I hesitate to respond, since authors seldom 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."
The Scarlet Ibis
[Short Story] The Scarlet Ibis Part 1
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