Scarlet ibis essay



The setting of a story can set the mood for what is happening in the story and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. In James Hurst?s short story The Scarlet Ibis, he uses the setting to make the reader feel not just read what is happening in the story.
Hurst?s eloquent diction tells how much of a safe haven Old Woman Swamp is. The swamp is described as a ?green dimness with palmetto fronds? that ?whisper.? Every time the children are here nothing to their dislike happens. The colors and imagery that the author uses reveals the swamp to be a comforting place. In addition, it brings to mind the thought of a caring mother or female guardian. The calmness and beauty of the swamp reinforces the motives of a supporting, loving person.

The author, clearly, wanted to make a point when describing the barn loft. The majority of the items within were a symbol of death, ?it was covered in Paris green sprinkled to kill the rats, and screech owls had built their nest inside it.? There were screech owls, Paris green, a coffin, and it was dark. All of these things symbolize death, and foreshadows what will eventually happen to Doodle. Further, Hurst?s barn of death only causes distress and fear for the boys, ?when he touched the casket he screamed. A screech owl flapped out of the box into our faces, covering us in Paris green.? The death and darkness in the barn loft gives the reader a sense of uncertainty of what will happen next.

Hurst?s dreary diction for describing the Horsehead Landing is significant to the ending of the story. When Doodle and the narrator were at the landing last there was a storm brewing as they floated down the creek and it was dark, cold, and mysterious. When Hurst describes how Doodle and the Narrator race the storm after rowing back to the landing it makes it seem as if they are running for there very lives, ?the rain was coming, roaring through the pines, and then like a bursting Roman candle, a gum tree ahead of us was shattered by a bolt of lightning.? Lastly Hurst describes running through the rain at full speed as, ?The rain drops stung my face like nettles, and the wind flared the wet glistening leaves of the boarding trees.? He doesn?t describe using colors in this setting, he instead uses the fear of Doodle and the narrator and the suspense to paint a picture in the readers head of what the boys are going through. Though the lack of information is minimal for this setting it makes the reader create their own image.

In conclusion, the settings used in this story compliment the plot. Hurst?s learned diction provides the reader with the perfect mental picture of the story and the way he describes every setting makes the image seen in flawless vision.