The story takes place during World War I in the Southern Unites States. The narrator has a disabled brother who was just born. He believes that he is useless and is disappointed as he just wants a normal brother. However, when he sees that his brother who he named Doodle smile at him he is happy that his brother is mentally there.
At least he's mentally there...
The narrator thinks of Doodle as a burden and treats him terribly. The older brother believes he can teach Doodle to be normal, Doodle on the other hand is fine the way he is. They set out on a plan to teach Doodle to walk and run and stand. Eventually he learned to walk but the older brother is still determined to fix his brother.
Come on Doodle you're not even trying!!!
The narrator is continuing to struggle with his pride and thinking that it was okay he proceeded with his harsh actions and rushes Doodle to learn to be even more mobile. They tried but they never had the time and had almost given up. One day they were eating with their family when a strange bird dies in the backyard. Doodle feels a connection to the Scarlet Ibis and decides to give him a proper burial.
It's just like me...
It's just a dumb bird, why does he care so much?
The narrator continued to push Doodle to be normal , so one day they were out practicing and it was the last day before school started. They didn't do it and the brother was extremely angry and disappointed in Doodle. They started to walk home when a storm started brewing, the narrator runs away and leaves Doodle out in the storm. Later, the brother goes back to the dead brother.
The narrator goes back to a dead Doodle under a nightshade bush like the Scarlet Ibis and shelters his brother from the rain. He's absolutely devastated.
He carries Doodle home when the rain finished and mourned his brother, when he came to the realization that his pride and embarrassment got his brother killed. The older brother then goes out to Old Woman Swamp everyday in honor of his brother.