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The Scarlet Ibis

The Scarlet Ibis


by James Hurst

The Scarlet Ibis Memory and the Past Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Paragraph)

Quote #1

The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted […] through every room of our house, speaking softly the names of our dead. (1.1)

"The Scarlet Ibis" doesn't discuss the family's ancestors, but this line prepares the reader to travel back in the past with Brother. It also sets a tone of sadness and mourning.

Quote #2

It's strange that all this is still so clear to me, now that summer has long since fled and time has had its way. (1.2)

This lets us know we're going to take a trip down memory lane. Time having "its way" is a way of thinking about time. If it's had "its way," it has passed. The line is a little ironic, because Brother lives in the past. Like Gavin Stevens says in William Faulkner's A Requiem for a Nun, "The past is never dead. It isn't even past."

Quote #3

[…] I remember Doodle. (1.2)

Brother makes things explicit in this line. The story we are about to hear is a memory of Doodle. This lets us know that Doodle is probably dead, but gives no idea of when, why or how long ago the death occurred.

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