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The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 May 2017

The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst

Gaining from the ameliorate of ones disability, makes a person seem self-centered or conceited. The Scarlet Ibis, a short story by James Hurst tells the story of two brothers. Brother tells the story of his actions that contribute to his younger brothers death. Brothers pride is the main reason for Doodles yearly passing. This idea of pride, is a central theme in the story. Pride, a feeling of importance, merit, or superiority, can cause both positive and negative consequences. Moral integrity will destroy the career that took so long to build up. Brothers shame and embarrassment are forces that gave life to Doodle. Because Brother is ashamed of Doodles disability Brother tries to fix Doodle so that he can be pride of his brother. For example, when Brother learns that Doodle will not be able to walk, Brothers pride causes him to teach Doodle to walk.

When Doodle said he could not walk, Brother replied, “Shut up. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m going to teach you to walk” (Hurst 346-347). Brother teaches Doodle to walk simply because he is embarrassed by his disabled brother. In fact Brother admits, “All of us must have something to be proud of” (347). Although Brothers reasons are selfish, Doodle is provided with a better life because of Brothers selfish actions. In addition, because Brother is so successful in teaching Doodle to walk, Brother feels even more pride in his accomplishments. Doodle explains, “I began to believe in my own infallibility” (349). Brother decided to teach Doodle to run, row, swim and climb trees. Certainly, if Doodle were capable of such things; running, rowing, swimming it would give Doodle a richer, fuller life.

The same pride that gives Doodle life however, also steals his life. When the brothers go off to Horsehead Landing for a swimming lesson, a storm disrupts their plans. To escape the rain the brothers quickly head for home. Once Doodle slips and falls, Brother recongnizes that Doodle would always be different. Brother thinks, “He had failed and we both knew it. He would never be like the other boys at school” (352) The idea that Doodle is different continues to shame Brother. In fact, Brother is so ashamed that his actions cause suffering for Doodle. Brother abandons Doodle. Brother remembers, “The knowledge that Doodle’s and my plans had come to nothing was bitter, and that streak of cruelty within me awakened. I ran as fast as I could, leaving him far behind with a wall of rain dividing us” (353).

At this point, Brothers pride is excessive and causes him to abandons his younger brother. When Brother finally went back he discovered his brother dead. “He had been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained a brilliant red” (354). Brother pushes Doodle too far this time. His actions were helpful before where they were encouraging Doodle to have a better life, later they become so excessive Brothers pride pushes Doodle far beyond his capabilities. Brother pushes Doodle to the point that was not in his best interest. His pride causes destruction of his brothers life. A society cannot long exist without this sense of trust in each other, without some standards of truth.

Lance Armstrong, a well-know cyclist and Tour de France seven time winner, was using illegal Performance Enhancing Drugs all while claiming honesty and integrity. Millions of fans putting their trust into him, having Armstrong play them like fools. Many children looked up to such an admirable athlete, showing them cheating to win is okay; then repeatedly lying about the actions Armstrong created. Moral integrity is beliefs regarding appropriate behavior in the right conduct. Lance Armstrong moral integrity is ruined.

Armstrong thought it was morally acceptable to take Performance Enhancing Drugs while competing in the most prestigious cycling race. Lance Armstrong’s moral integrity ruined his career and also how people see him. Pride can be both a positive and negative force. Brother recognized this duality when he said, “Pride is a wonderful terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death” (347). Throughout the short story Brother stresses the duality, or the two sides of pride. It could of pushed Brother to do achieve greatness, but it became destructive when his obsession with helping Doodle pushed him to his early death. To have the public eye always watching Armstrong’s life, he should have know his behavior created a horrible moral integrity as a wellrespected celebrity.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 24 May 2017

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