Q:

What is the irony in the story "The Scarlet Ibis"?

A:

Quick Answer

The irony in the short story "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst is situational irony portrayed between the scarlet ibis, Doodle and Brother. The family, the storm and the feeling of indifference also cast irony on the story.

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Full Answer

Examples of irony in the short story "The Scarlet Ibis":

The names of the characters as irony in the story

The name of the protagonist in the story (or the lack of name), "Brother," addresses the relationship to Doodle rather than to an actual name given by his parents. It also reflects on the undercurrent of indifference that plagues the characters' families from both Doodle's and the ibis's situation. This is a recurring motif, most obviously in the name that Brother gives to William Armstrong, which is Doodle. The father, however, knows the name of the bird in the garden as he recognizes it at a scarlet ibis.

The scarlet ibis as irony in the story

The scarlet ibis is the messenger of irony throughout the story. Although both boys are known in the story by the names they call each other, and not the names given to them by their parents, the bird does have a name. The color of the bird, the circumstance of the bird's death and the indifference that causes the outcome provide a situational irony that mirrors Doodle's life and death.

Verbal irony in the story

The culmination of irony takes place when Brother tries to shield Doodle's body from the rain. Doodle is red, far from home and dead, as is the ibis.

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