The family is introduced to the newborn baby, Doodle. Everyone thought he was going to die because of the conditions he was in. "He seemed all head, with a tiny body which was red and shriveled like an old man's... everybody thought he was going to die-everybody except Aunt Nicey."
The narrator was very disappointed about having a disabled brother. " He was born when I was six and was from the outset, a disappointment." He wanted to be able to play with doodle, but soon realized that wasn't possible and became frustrated. " It was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable.."
Since Doodle had disabilities and health conditions, the narrator was convinced to figure out a way to teach his little brother how to walk. "When Doodle was five years old, I was embarrassed at having a brother of that age who couldn't walk, so I set out to teach him." When he learned to walk, the narrator showed him how to do other activities. One day doodle and his family saw a dead scarlet ibis and doodle decided to bury it.
Time was short and Doodle still had a long way to go. A storm was on its way and doodle was feeling weak, so the narrator decided to run as fast as he could leaving him behind. " The knowledge that Doodle's and my plans had come to naught was bitter, and that streak of cruelty within me awakened...I ran as fast as I could leaving him far behind..."
Doodle kept calling out to his brother to come and help him, but he just ignored it. "When the deafening peal of thunder had died, and in the moment before the rain arrived, I heard Doodle, who had fallen behind, cry out, Brother, Brother, don't leave me! Don't leave me! " Doodle's brother became tired of running and decided to stop and wait for him but noticed that no one came, so he decided to go back and look for him. It was too late because Doodle was found dead, laying in the same position as the scarlet ibis.
Doodle's older brother was full of regret and sadness knowing that he could have saved his brother before it was too late. " Doodle! I screamed above the pounding storm and threw my body to Earth above his..for a long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain. The narrator realizes that being ashamed and selfish of someone can lead to consequences.