Doodle, a young boy, is the scarlet ibis with his limp legs and a small body that is easily broken by stress and pain. “He was all head with a tiny body which was red and shriveled like and old man’s” (Hurst 428). Doodle was clearly a premature baby and could not walk because of his weak heart. As a three month old he was both physically and emotionally detached from the family. Since they thought he was going to die after birth they had a coffin made. But when he lived they kept him in the front room on a rubber sheet. ”For as long as he lay all the time in the bed we called him William Armstrong” (430). To me, this is a horrible thing for the family to do. It proves that they refuse to accept Doodle into the family because of his disabilities. Finally, at three he learned to crawl and talk. Doodle became close with his brother, too, when he had to get pulled around everywhere by him. Doodle still could not walk so his father made him a wagon and whenever his older brother went out his mother would yell, “Take Doodle with you! He would make up crazy stories for fun because he was creative and different and it really didn’t matter to him that he was different. “Every day that summer we went to the pine beside the stream of Old Woman Swamp, and I put him on his feet at least one hundred times every afternoon” (433). This is when Doodle is six years old and his brother is determined to teach him to walk because he is ashamed to have a brother who is different.
Doodle was going to be starting school soon and his brothers pride was hurt by the fact that he was related to the weird kid so he wanted to make sure he could do everything any other boy could do. “He even came up with the idea that he could marry Mama and I could marry Daddy” (434). Doodle would plan out the future with his family, hoping they could be together forever. Brother and Doodle started a training camp for him so he could learn to run, climb, fight, and swim. They spent everyday together at Old Woman Swamp but Doodle couldn’t do much more then walk.
He was an intellectual kid and he always wanted to know why about everything. He wanted to know why things looked the way they did and why he couldn’t run. The scarlet ibis coming all the way from the tropics to their yard to die shook doodle. He made a big deal about it and put in a ton of his effort just to bury the bird. Everyone else moved on with his or her day but Doodle didn’t stop dwelling on the bird. He was physically weakened by all the trouble he had put into the burial and incapable of really doing much more for the day.
But when Brother forced him to come to train he couldn’t say not because he was too happy and determined. Doodle was so lively and smart, and he knew there was danger when the hurricane came. Brother was so angry with him for not being able to complete the day’s work so he ran and left Doodle in the hurricane. I’m sure he knew what was going on because he was not naive, but the young boy probably wondered why. Doodle died that day and when he lay there in the rain, covered in blood with his limp legs and a crooked neck, he was the Scarlet Ibis.