The story has been described as "rich in symbolism." The Scarlet Ibis is the main symbol in the story, as is the color red and the ibis in comparison to "Doodle" as fragile yet majestic. The storm is often compared to Doodle's brother because the brother pushed him too hard, much as the storm did with the scarlet ibis. The story also examines the ambiguous nature of pride: "I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death." It has been hypothesized by literary experts that Doodle was symbolically struck by lightning.
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