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The Scarlet Ibis
Interactive Literature Selections

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Literary Tools

Mood. Mood, or atmosphere, is the emotion created in the reader by part or all of a literary work. A writer can evoke in the reader an emotional response—such as fear, discomfort, longing, or anticipation—by working carefully with descriptive language and sensory details. The description in the opening paragraph of "The Scarlet Ibis" establishes a haunted, lonely mood. Watch for mood changes as you read the story.

Foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is the act of presenting materials that hint at events to occur later in the story. Note the foreshadowing of death in the first paragraph of the story as hinted at in the somber descriptions of nature.

Reader's Resource

The setting of a literary work is the time and place in which it occurs, together with all the details used to create a sense of a particular time and place. In "The Scarlet Ibis," the setting is particularly important. According to Hurst, it is almost another character. You will notice that Hurst describes colors, weather conditions, plants, and trees in great detail as he creates the world of the story's two main characters. This world is one with which North Carolina-born Hurst is quite familiar. As you read, notice the important role that the setting plays in the story.

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Create a radiating circle like the one below to explore the use of foreshadowing in "The Scarlet Ibis." Note the many different descriptions and events that foreshadow the end of the story. Then write each example of foreshadowing in a circle radiating out from the center. One example has been done for you.

readers journal
Have you ever had mixed feelings about a family member or a close friend?

Prereading page
About the Author page
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Vocabulary from the Selection page
Guided Reading Questions page
Postreading Worksheet page
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