The Scarlet Ibis

by

James Hurst

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The Storm Symbol Icon

Just as the scarlet ibis parallels Doodle’s story, the storm is analogous to Brother’s pride and the tyrannical authority he wields over his brother. One storm brings the ibis far from its home in the tropics to North Carolina, where its wings become mangled, leaving it unable to fly. The storm at the very end of the short story—perhaps even the same storm—leads to Doodle’s death, whipping past while the two brothers try to run home. While it is easy to blame the storm for Doodle’s death, the responsibility arguably rests on Brother. Because Brother could not accept Doodle’s failure to become a normal boy, he abandons Doodle, leaving him to fend for himself in the storm. Thus, the storm is symbolic of the devastating effects that human pride and cruelty can have.

The Storm Quotes in The Scarlet Ibis

The The Scarlet Ibis quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Storm. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Expectations and Disappointment Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Creative Education edition of The Scarlet Ibis published in 1988.
The Scarlet Ibis Quotes

He had failed and we both knew it, so we started back home, racing the storm. We never spoke (What are the words that can solder cracked pride?), but I knew he was watching me, watching for a sign of mercy.

Related Characters: Brother (speaker), Doodle
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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.

Related Characters: Brother (speaker), Doodle
Related Symbols: The Scarlet Ibis, The Storm
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Scarlet Ibis LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Scarlet Ibis PDF

The Storm Symbol Timeline in The Scarlet Ibis

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Storm appears in The Scarlet Ibis. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Scarlet Ibis
Death Theme Icon
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
...and Daddy guesses that it must have been carried up to North Carolina by a storm. Doodle insists on burying the ibis, singing “Shall We Gather at the River” as he... (full context)
Expectations and Disappointment Theme Icon
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
...woods, but Doodle says he is too tired to swim, so they row instead. A storm begins to gather. (full context)
Pride Theme Icon
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
...and both of them knew it. They begin to return home, trying to beat the storm. As Brother walks faster and faster, Doodle struggles to keep up with him, and he... (full context)
Pride Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
...is no longer alive. Brother begins to weep. He screams Doodle’s name through the deafening storm, and tries to shelter his “fallen scarlet ibis” from the rain. (full context)