Hurst wrote, "I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death."
How do both authors (Hurst and Steinbeck) use this quote to springboard his concept of "pride" throughout the story? (If you look closely, you will see that the authors refers to pride several times in each of their works (Hurst directly and Steinbeck indirectly).
**To answer this question, you must locate the original quote listed above. Next, find several references of "Pride" in both stories. Why does the authors continuously refer to pride throughout their stories? What does pride mean to the authors/ the characters?
Explain the quote using examples from the stories. Both stories have many similarities.
In Hurst's The Scarlet Ibis, he states "I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death." (Hurst 488). By saying this, he means that there are both positive and negative aspects of pride. In The Scarlet Ibis and Of Mice and Men, the characters in both of these literary works go through events in their lives that cause them to feel pride. The authors Hurst and Steinbeck both use their writing to support the idea that pride can be good or bad. Many examples are shown in both works, and are supported throughout their writing.
In The Scarlet Ibis, the narrator taught his brother how to walk and function in many ways, therefore both of the main characters felt pride at some point. The first time pride was displayed was when the narrator realized that Doodle was alive and functioning and he shouted "Mama, he smiled. He's all there! He's all there!" (Hurst 485). This is on the positive spectrum of pride. The narrator was proud because his brother could finally show emotion and smile, which is a good thing. On the other hand, the narrator shows a negative example of pride as well. The narrator stated "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." (Hurst 488). For him, embarrassment plays a big role in his pride. Since Doodle was disabled, the narrator thought that he should be ashamed of Doodle, so that fueled his fire to work to get something he could be proud of. Later on as Doodle was able to walk, the narrator was more positive and said "all of us must have something or someone to be proud of, and Doodle had become mine." (Hurst 488). The author was more positive because his pride did not rely on his embarrassment, it came from the true love that he showed for his brother.
In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck indirectly symbolizes pride in the novel. This is most evident in Curley and the relationship between Lennie and George.The way Curley shows pride is represented negatively. "Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys... kind of like he's mad at 'em because he ain't a big guy" (Steinbeck 26). This shows that Curley gets his pride from always picking fights with people and sizing them up. He wants to keep his pride, so he always makes him look like the better person no matter what the situation is. In Lennie and George's relationship, it is very positive. Lennie and George benefit off of each other and can be proud of their accomplishments. Although, in some cases, it can be negative. For example, George has pride in being so influential over Lennie and this is shown because as George explain to Slim, once when he was kidding, he told Lennie to jump in the lake and he did and almost drowned (Steinbeck 40). This is negative because George almost killed his friend, but it is positive because that made George realize how much pride Lennie takes in him, and that he listens and believes anything that he says. Therefore, pride is an important theme in the novel.
The authors continuously refer to pride in their writing because of the meaning that it has to the characters. In The Scarlet Ibis, pride is the one thing that Doodle and his brother have in common, They are very different individuals, but this gives them something to bond over. Doodle can be proud of his brother for being patient and teaching him how to walk, and he can be proud of himself for putting in all of the work that he did to overcome his infirmity. Doodle's brother has the same reasons to be proud- he worked just as hard as his brother did. Pride is the one thing that Doodle possessed from birth to death. Even as he was dying, he still could have been proud of himself for pushing himself to jog or even run. Although it worked out negatively for him in the end, it was still a big accomplishment. After Doodle's death, his brother can still have pride that he pushed his brother to be better and be able to walk until the very end (Hurst 493).
As well as Hurst does, Steinbeck constantly referred to pride too, but for somewhat different reasons. Steinbeck used the theme of pride in a more negative way. Steinbeck gave the characters egos that caused them to want to keep their pride. Curley and his wife were big examples of this. They both always picked fights with people and always made themselves look like the tougher person because they feared losing their pride. On the other hand, Lennie and George can use their pride in a more positive way, like Doodle and his brother. George takes care of Lennie in the same way that Doodle takes care of his brother. George constantly got annoyed with Lennie, but he still managed to keep Lennie on track and work hard. George had pride in Lennie when Lennie crushed Curley's hand because Lennie stood up for himself for one of the first times in the novel (Steinbeck 62). This is how both authors use this theme in their works.
Although the stories are both different, both authors use the universal theme of pride to portray the messages that they want to get across. These two works relate to Hurst's quote, that "pride is a wonderful, terrible thing". The theme was used and interpreted in two different ways by each of the authors. Therefore, pride does indeed have a big role in both of these works.