Literary Analysis of The Scarlet Ibis and My Brother’s Keeper
‘I’ve lived in the darkness a long time. Over the years my eyes adjusted, until the dark became my world and I could see’, Dexter Morgan. There are points in every story when someone has to adjust or change. Everyone changes and we all have an event that changes us.
In ‘The Scarlet Ibis’, the rite of passage the narrator had to confront was the transition from being a child to early adulthood. He matured considerably in the story and this is shown on page 102 through his role as a teacher to his brother, Doodle. He not only teaches Doodle to walk, but by believing in his own ‘infallibility’ on page 105, then sets out to teach Doodle a number of other skills, including running, rowing, and climbing trees. By taking the role as a teacher for Doodle, demonstrates that he is no longer an immature child. Despite being only thirteen years old, he is on the road to adulthood. Unfortunately, his opportunity to really embrace this role as a teacher is cut short by Doodle’s tragic death. However, it still provides evidence that his transition towards adult life, characterized by responsibility and maturity.
In ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ by Jay Bennett the rite of passage that Jamie and his brother, Ted, had to confront was the death of their parents. Although, they don’t handle it the same way. Ted, the older brother, gets himself in a lot of trouble after the death of this parents and relies of Jamie to solve them. But then Jamie realizes that Teds behavior was harming him and puts an end to being ‘his brother’s keeper’ on page 158, forcing Ted to grow up and take the consequences of his own acts. Another rite of passage would be that he is no longer his brother’s keeper. On page 158, Jamie accepts that he cannot take the consequences of his brothers actions anymore so that Ted is being forced to grow up and take responsibilities for his own actions.
As you can see these two short stories are similar in a way. They are both about two brothers who had to adjust. The brothers in ‘The Scarlet’ had to adjust to Doodle being handicap and in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ they had to adjust to their parents death. In both stories someone dies. In ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ the parents died in a car crash and at the end of ‘The Scarlet Ibis’ Doodle dies.
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