The story of the scarlet ibis (a type of bird) directly parallels that of Doodle, as both fall victim to forces outside their own control. The scarlet ibis is not native to North America, but it appears one day in the yard of the boys’ home nevertheless, having been carried there by a storm. Brother observes that the bird is beautiful and graceful, but when it attempts to fly its wings are mangled, and it crashes to the ground, dead. Doodle seems to be the only character who truly acknowledges the tragedy of the bird’s death, and he solemnly buries it. Like the ibis, Doodle’s limbs are “uncoordinated,” causing him to fall often. Also like the ibis, Doodle’s death at the end of the story is the direct result of a storm. When Brother discovers Doodle lifeless in the forest, he acknowledges the connection between Doodle and the bird. The scarlet ibis thus represents how something fragile and beautiful can be lost so easily.
The Scarlet Ibis Quotes in The Scarlet Ibis
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. The flower garden was strained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank amid the purple phlox.
Sadly, we all looked back at the bird. A scarlet ibis! How many miles it had traveled to die like this, in our yard, beneath the bleeding tree.
I screamed above the pounding storm and threw my body to the earth above his. For a long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain.