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Symbol Definition Essay

A symbol is something that stand for itself and something else. For example, in the short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, the scarlet ibis’s life is a symbol for doodle’s life. The lives of Doodle and the Scarlet Ibis are symbolic due to the fact that they are both red, they’re both weak, and they both die. The first example of how the lived of Doodle and the Scarlet Ibis are symbolic is the fact that they are both red. When Doodle is a baby, his brother describes him as being red. When Doodle is born He has a weak heart. This causes his face to turn red when he tries to crawl, walk, or run. “Trembling, he’d push himself up, turning first red, then a soft purple, and finally collapsed back onto the bed like an old worn out doll.” (171) like Doodle; the Scarlet Ibis is also red. The Scarlet Ibis is a red tropical bird. “. . . A bird the size of a chiocken, with scarlet feathers and long legs, was perched precariously” (179). As one can see, doodle and the Scarlet Ibis are symbolic in the fact that they are both red.

The second example of how the lives of doodle and the Scarlet Ibis are symbolic is the fact that they’re both weak. One day his brother got tired of carrying him everywhere so he decided to teach him to walk. This made him weak because every time he’d try to get him up he’d fall. I heaved him up again, and again he collapsed. This time he did not lift his face up out of the rubber grass. “I just can’t do it.” (174) as one can see doodle and the scarlet ibis are symbolic in the fact that they are both weak and both their bodies give out on them. The third example of how the lives of doodle and the scarlet ibis are symbolic is the fact that they both die. One day a storm hit while they were coming home from the swamp and they were running trying to beat the rain and doodle’s brother left him. When he went back to get him, he saw that he had died because his heart was too weak. “Doodle! Doodle!”

I cried, shaking him, but there was no answer but the ropy rain. He lay very awkwardly, with his head thrown far back, making his vermillion neck appear unusually long and slim. His little legs, bent sharply at the knees, had never before seemed so fragile, so thin. I began to heap and the tear-blurred vision in red before me looked very familiar. “Doodle!” 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. “(183).” The Scarlet Ibis was barely hanging on and died right in front of old doodle, his brother, mom, and dad.

“A white veil came over the eyes, and the long white beak unhinged. Its legs were crossed and its claw like feet was delicately curved at rest. Even death did not mar its grace, for it lay on earth like a broken vase of red flowers.” (180). as one can see, doodle and the Scarlet Ibis are symbolic in the fact that they both die, and the relation and description both described the way they die. Doodle and the Scarlet Ibis symbolized each other throughout the story. They symbolized through color, weakness, and through death.


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