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The Scarlet Ibis

The Scarlet Ibis


by James Hurst

The Scarlet Ibis Part 2 Summary

  • Even though the doctor says that Doodle's heart is too weak to handle crawling, Doodle learns, with much struggle, to crawl.
  • This is when he's three years old.
  • From then on, Doodle is a real part of the family.
  • Now that he's crawling, and doing some talking, the name William Armstrong doesn't fit. So the narrator gives him the new name.
  • Doodle, you see, only crawls backwards, reminding the narrator of a "doodle-bug," hence the name Doodle (2.2).
  • (The US Tiger Beetle is sometimes known as the doodle-bug. Click here for a picture and details.)
  • Mama and Daddy think the name Doodle is an improvement over William Armstrong.
  • Aunt Nicey, on the other hand, thinks that the name Doodle didn't show the "special respect" caul babies should be given (2.2). Caul babies "might turn out to be saints" (2.2).
  • Doodle learns to talk before he learns to walk.
  • He talks and talks and talks.
  • The family stops "listening" to Doodle after a time (2.3).
  • Daddy makes a "go-cart" so the narrator can pull him around.
  • The narrator pulls Doodle around on the porch ("the piazza"), but Doodle soon wants more (2.3).
  • By crying, Doodle gets the narrator to take him first into the yard, and then everywhere else the narrator goes.
  • According to the doctor, Doodle is very delicate, and "must always be treated gently" (2.4). The narrator disobeys all the doctor's orders and plays rough with Doodle, even making him fall out of the cart.
  • Nothing the narrator does discourages Doodle. He realizes that Doodle is going to stick to him like glue, "forever" (2.4).
  • The narrator decides to "share with [Doodle] the only beauty" he is aware of, Old Woman Swamp (2.4).
  • When Doodle is situated on the grass of the swamp bank, he starts crying. He tells the narrator that he's crying because the area is, "So pretty, pretty, pretty" (2.6).
  • The brothers make a habit of visiting the swamp.
  • They make "necklaces and crowns" from all kinds of flowers and grass, and they lounge around (2.7). When the sun starts to get low, they toss the jewelry in the river.
  • The narrator knows that inside of himself and others "there is a knot of cruelty borne by a stream of love" (2.7). ("Borne" means "carried." The narrator is saying that a stream of love can carry a "knot of cruelty." This is probably another way of saying that sometimes we hurt the ones we love.)
  • Sometimes he can be mean to Doodle. For example, he takes Doodle "to the barn loft" and shows him the coffin Daddy bought when they didn't think Doodle would make it. Some owls are nesting in it.
  • Doodle tells the narrator that the coffin isn't his.
  • The narrator says Doodle has to touch it if he wants to leave the loft. Then he pretends to go down the ladder.
  • Doodle is afraid of being abandoned. He says, "Don't go leave me, Brother" (2.13). (Now we can stop calling him "the narrator," and call him Brother.)
  • Doodle quickly touches the coffin, screaming. An owl flies out and scares both of them.
  • Doodle can't move. Brother carries him down in the bright light of the day.
  • Doodle begs Brother not to leave him.

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