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Comparative Analysis Essay: The Scarlet Ibis versus Marigolds

3 pages
592 words
Wesleyan University
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The Scarlet Ibis and "Marigolds" are masterfully crafted short stories that are authored by James Hurst and Eugenia Collier respectively. To convey the message, the authors meticulously employs stylistic devices such as imagery, foreshadowing, and symbolism. Through foreshadowing, the authors add suspense to the plot of the storyline, while imagery and symbolism enhance the visual aid thus improving readers interpretation of the books.

Symbolism is also well utilized in short story, The Scarlet Ibis. To start with, the style is illustrated when the brother forces Doodle to touch the mahogany coffin. The coffin is used to symbolize Doodles death. Moreover, the beautiful old woman's swap was used to signify a paradise; where the two boys spent their happiest moments. The rare scarlet ibis symbolizes Doodle, who is a unique and an astonishing character, they both die on the same day. Finally, Doodles neck is depicted as red with blood, and his legs are described as slim and stiffly-jointed, thus likening him to the ibis. On the other hand, in the novel Marigold, the marigold flowers symbolizes beauty in a world that is filled with barren unsightliness. The existence of these flowers in black and gray denotes poverty in the settings of the novel. Finally, the stricken steel town symbolizes the audacity that only a few human beings could master under such difficult circumstances that the characters endured.

Across the book, the author has meticulously used imagery to convey various messages and enhance comprehension of the novel. For instance, to describe the extent of the summer drought James Hurst writes, The withered crops shriveled under the blistering gaze of the thirsty sun (Hurst, 1988). Moreover, the hurricane is equated to a bloodthirsty hawk at the entrails of a chicken; such descriptions create an image of ruin and annihilation on the mind of the reader. Finally, towards the end of the short story, the rain is described as dripping incessantly onto Doodles lifeless body, and his legs are described as gleaming sharply red. This heart rendering passage allows the reader to create an image of the grief that the desolate brother endured after the death of Doodle. On the other hand, imagery is also utilized in the novel Marigold especially in the description of the background settings. For instance, the author says, Beyond the dusty brown yard, in front of the gray lorry house, rose suddenly and shockingly a dazzling strip of bright blossoms clumped together in enormous mounds, warm and passionate and sun-golden (Collier, 1974). Such imageries have played a vital role in creating the mood and atmosphere of the story.

Foreshadowing is well-illustrated in the short story, Scarlet Ibis. For instance, the author states, The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted [through] our house, speaking the names of our dead softly (Hurst, 1988). This excerpt foreshadows the death of the character, Doodle. Secondly, Hurst claims that the full name of Doodle, which is William Armstrong is good on a tombstone, such a name sounds good only on a tombstone (1988)," thus foreshadowing Doodles eminent death. On the other hand, foreshadowing is also used in the Novel Marigold. For instance, the author writes And for some reason, we children hated these marigolds (Collier, 1974); they ended up throwing stones and destroying the flowers. Later in the novel, when the author sees her dad crying she is filled with the urge to destroy something to get rid of what she perceived as imperfect and unfitting to the society.



Collier Eugenia (1974). The marigolds. Sydney: Fragment Press.

Hurst, J. (1988). The Scarlet Ibis. Mankato: Creative Education.


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