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“The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst

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1 “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst
Background Information



4 James Hurst- author * born in 1922-
*grows up in Jacksonville North Carolina on a coastal farm *serves in U.S. Army during WWI * Studies to be a chemical engineer *studies singing/acting at Julliard School in NYC *goes to Italy to pursue a career in Opera; returns 3 yrs. later *returns in 1951 to States & becomes a banker for 34 yrs. *wrote plays & short stories in spare time

5 Story Information *“Scarlet Ibis” – only well-known story by Hurst
*first published in monthly magazine in 1960 story is an example of a personal narrative *What is a Scarlet Ibis? - wading bird known for its bright red color as it gets older Over 20 species of the Ibis birds inhabits tropical South America- Caribbean national bird of Trinidad & Tobago (coat of arms) sociable, caring personality




9 First Paragraph Analysis
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 stained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank amid the purple phlox. The five o’clocks by the chimney still marked time, but the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle. The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softly the names of our dead.

10 Bleeding Tree

11 Magnolia Flowers

12 Purple Phlox Flowers

13 5 O’Clock Flowers

14 Question? What type of mood does the first paragraph create for the reader? Underline the words in the text that support this mood.

15 Second Paragraph Analysis
Its strange that all this is still so clear to me, now that summer has long since fled and time has had its way. A grindstone stands where the bleeding tree stood, just outside the kitchen door, and now if an oriole sings in the elm, its song seems to die up in the leaves, a silvery dust. The flower garden is prim, the house a gleaming white, and the pale fence across the yard stands straight and spruce. But sometimes (like right now), as I sit in the cool, green-draped parlor, the grindstone begins to turn, and time with all its changes is ground away- and I remember Doodle.

16 Grindstone Machine- used to sharpen tools
What is the grindstone a symbol for in the text?

17 Literary Elements *Symbols- grindstone= symbolizes Brother’s memories
Ex. “sharpens or grinds” Brother’s memories of his past and “cuts” him at the same time with the pain of Doodle’s death 2) Ibis= symbolizes Doodle Ex. Not meant to live or be there, both are rare, uncoordinated, death similarities

18 Literary Elements 3) Peacock (in Doodle’s lie)= symbolizes Doodle Ex. Doodle’s peacock- small bird with a 10 ft. tail Doodle’s name (William Armstrong) is described as a small kite with a long tail 4) Old Woman Swamp= symbolizes a place of paradise for the boys 5) Red= symbolizes Doodle described a a baby, the Ibis, coffin, bleeding tree, Doodle’s embarrassment at failing & Brother embarrassed of Doodle, Doodle at death, etc. 6) War= symbolizes the World War taking place during 1918 & the “war” of cruelty that Brother fights with Doodle

19 Literary Elements Foreshadowing- “red dead birds are bad luck” coffin

20 Literary Elements Allusions-
1)Literary- “No crumbs left behind”- Hansel & Gretel 2)Historical- WWII references in France 3)Biblical- Resurrection, “Shall We Gather At the River” hymn

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