WebQuest for English
of the Self
Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst
| Task | Process | Enrichment
| Read It | What you will do
an uncanny way of presenting information to the reader that is often hidden
behind rich language and literary devices. In discovering the "mysteries"
of the literature, readers gain insights into human experiences and develop
a broader understanding of one's self. James Hurst, author of "The
Scarlet Ibis," is one who provides "mystery and meaning" through his short
story. You will use the web to find information that will help you
complete this assignment. What mysteries will you uncover and how
will those mysteries find meaning in your life?
to begin! Have fun on your search for the answers to this mystery:
Click on the
following to retrieve your worksheet. Save the worksheet to disk and fill it in and then PRINT it when it is completed.
define and identify
create and explain
an original symbol;
define a scarlet
significance of environment for the scarlet ibis.
to keep all of the answers to your quest for meaning on your worksheet.
Make sure you read all of the directions before you begin the journey.
You will have a set of three activities to complete. Follow the assigned
order of the activities (so please don't jump around as you complete the
What is a symbol?
Instead of going to the textbook for the answer, link to the following
site to find the definition of a symbol:
you understand what a symbol is, you are ready to move on to activity #2.
Sit back and enjoy as you glance at a variety of symbols and their meanings.
Lots of students dislike
or fear literature, because they think they "don't get" the idea of symbolism.
This next site contains examples explaining some traditional symbols in
This next site gives
you a sampling of categories that provide a wide range of symbols.
Click on at least five letters of the alphabet and record your five findings
on your worksheet.
Art Symbols Dictionary: Flowers and Plants
The next site gives
the meanings of flowers and their symbolism from poetry, history and past
writings. Interested? Click here to learn more.
to read a story about a scarlet ibis, and you have probably guessed that
it will involve some symbolism. Wouldn't you agree that it would
help to understand the story if you knew what a scarlet ibis was?
The following site has a picture of the scarlet ibis.
What's so special
about the scarlet ibis? Click on this site and be ready to answer
answers to the following questions on your worksheet:
1) What is
a scarlet ibis? Describe in detail.
the environment in which the scarlet ibis lives.
3) How is
environment important to the bird's survival?
Before you begin
reading the short story, let's see if you really understand symbolism!
Let's see if you
can unlock the "mystery" and find the "meaning" in the following poem:
Read the poem carefully. Highlight and copy it and paste it in a Word document. Save as Ibispoem.
Underline or highlight
specific clues that will aid in identifying the symbol.
Identify the symbol.
Provide a brief explanation
or justification for your choice.
Submit your analysis
by Philip Booth
Lie back daughter, let your head
Answer the following
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
The father is giving his daughter advice about floating. This first
swim lesson dealing with floating also has a symbolic meaning. Not
only is the father giving his daughter advice about floating, but he is
also giving his daughter advice about ____________________.
Provide a brief explanation for your choice.
||You discovered the
mystery of the symbol! Explanation is clear and concise and it supports
the meaning of the symbol.
||You are on track!
Explanation is quite good for this symbol. Could you have examined
a few more clues--literary devices, word choices?
||You identified a
symbol, but your explanation doesn't quite include all the relevant details
in the poem.
activity, you have discovered the richness of language and have identified
literary devices, particularly the symbol, that aid in developing understanding
the story. You also gained significant information about the scarlet
ibis and its environment. Understanding symbolsim and the background
of the bird will enable you to develop your own analysis of the story.
Congratulations! You are now ready to dive into the story, "The Scarlet
What you will do
In an essay of 250 or more words discuss the importance of symbolism in James Hurst's "The Scarlet Ibis." Be sure
to define symbol, the scarlet ibis, and discuss how the symbolism is important in the main idea of the story.
How is this a story of discovering self? What did you discover about yourself? Save this file as ibis.html and add link on main.html to Scarlet Ibis.
Use this Resource
Selwocki and Michelle Dunn
like to thank members of the Maryland Technology Academy, especially Kim
Champagne and Christine Voelker, for introducing us to the world of WebQuests
and teaching us how to create our own masterpiece. Thank you!
credit goes to:
in Appreciation. Heritage Edition Revised. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
Publishers. New York: 1985.
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Graphic Organizer for "Scarlet Ibis"
Another activity sheet for "Scarlet Ibis."
updated on August 15, 1999. Based
on a template from The