The Theme Of Love In The Scarlet Ibis By James Hurst

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 529 Pages: 2
  • Published: 11 May 2021
  • Copied: 155

In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, two brothers overcome challenges that are presented by Doodle’s weak heart. Doodle perseveres through these obstacles due to his unconditional love and willingness to obey his brother's word. While many big idea words could describe the two boys’ relationship, unconditional love most greatly impacts their bond.

Doodle’s unconditional love is exhibited when Doodle endures his brother's torment in order to stick with his cruel superior. The neighborhood doctor told the family about Doodle’s crippling heart condition; disappointed and angry, the ruthless narrator disregarded all of the doctor’s health suggestions in order to get rid of Doodle. But, as much as Doodle’s brother tried to get rid of him, “Doodle was [his] brother and he was going to cling to [the narrator] forever, no matter what [the brother] did, so [he] dragged [Doodle] across burning cotton fields'' and pushed the weak child to his limits (Hurst 3). The narrator's actions towards Doodle strongly supports the claim that no matter what he did, the frail boy would stick to his brother through thick and thin. These events also produce a sense of endearment in Doodle with which he goes through everything his cruel brother pushes the frail child through, impacting their relationship.

When the malevolent older brother pushed Doodle to touch his old coffin, unconditional love had a large effect on the brother’s relationship.  One day, Doodle’s brother decided to take the scared child on a trip to visit the barn loft. In the loft stood Doodle’s sturdy, magnolia casket. The powerful brother forced the reluctant boy to touch his coffin, or else he would leave Doodle by himself in the loft. Doodle touched the casket and let out a horrible shriek; whaling many tears, he jumped into the brothers arms and begged, “‘Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me’” (Hurst 4). Doodle’s gesture towards his brother reveals the unconditional love he has for him. Even after his brother demanded he touch the symbol of his own death, he still tries to find comfort in his merciless brother. This impacts the close children’s relationship by enlightening the older brother he can do whatever he wants to Doodle, and he would follow his every command to the end.

Another example of Doodle’s unconditional love for his brother is displayed when the impaired sibling dedicated his entire summer to listen to his brother's ruthless commands. Doodle worked day and night to try to row, climb, and swim for his hubris filled companion. The cruel brother pushed Doodle to the absolute limits of his physical ability. At the end of the summer, the frail boy could barely climb a vine rope or row a boat. The tyrannical adolescence demanded Doodle to “swim until he turned blue, and row until he could not lift an oar.” (Hurst 8). Even though the crippled youngling was on the brink of death, his relentlessness shows the determination to not give up for his brother. These harsh activities made Doodle weak and feeble; the tiring treatment slowly wore down the puny child until his brutal death. 

To sum up everything that has been stated, as a direct result of Doodle’s unconditional love, the devoted brother suffered for his superior until his demise. Unconditional love serves as a driving force for Doodle to persevere through his brother's unforgiving training. As love can be a force that bonds people together, love can also push people to sacrifice.

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