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Jessica Gott


English I

28 May 2019

Brother with Narcissistic personality disorder

It may be hard to believe but even young children can have narcissistic personality

disorder. In the story The Scarlet Ibisthere is a family of four that lives a pretty average life

except for the fact that their youngest son, Doodle, has a disability which lessens his quality of

life. There are two boys in the family including Doodle and Brother and they live a generally

normal life of adventure and play. Now in order to classify Brother as a narcissist he would have

to show some signs of this in his behavior which can include, “grandiose sense of importance,

preoccupation with unlimited success, belief that one is special and unique, exploitative of

others, lack of empathy, arrogance, and jealousy of others (Psych central: Narcissistic personality

disorder),” with many other small signs relating to narcissistic behavior. In the book,Brother

should be diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder when he chooses to not only make

Doodles disorder about himself but also leave his injured brother behind in times of crisis and

that he was so determined it led to others pain.

In this story Brother states many things that lead it to seem he only cares about Doodles

condition and helping him because it embaresses him or is an inconvenience. It says, “I was

embarrassed of having a brother of that age who couldn’t walk(Hurst 2),” and this shows how he

felt embarrassed to be related to someone who was different. He takes Doodles weakness and

turns it into his own kind of problem which is unnecessary and very sad for Doodle. Brother also

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states, “I’m going to teach you to walk Doodle


I don’t have to haul you around all the

time(Hurst 2).” This is a strong representation of how someone is hurting in Brothers life and yet

he makes it all about himself. Instead of feeling for his brother he decides it’s time for him to

walk because Brother is sick and tired of wheeling him around in his wagon. These different

symptoms and signs can show the possibility of Brother having narcissistic personality disorder

but aren’t the only reasons for this diagnosis.

Brother was a very determined young boy which is a great quality to have, except it led to

anger and distress with Doodle. Brother says stuff such as, “I should have already accepted

defeat but my pride wouldn’t let me(Hurst 4),” and this shows his strong determination. The

problem is that he wanted to do things and get them done so badly that it would actually hurt his

brother or others. He also said things like, “Aw.Come on ,Doodle,” I urged. “You can do it. Do

you want to be different from everybody else when you start school?(Hurst 4)”, and this was a

way to pressure Doodle into not being different anymore except it wasn’t something he could

help. Brother guilted Doodle into getting better in a sense just to save himself of the

embarrassment of having a disabled sibling. It truly comes down to that Brother was just a very

determined boy who used his persuasiveness for good by actually helping his younger brother

but did this with bad intentions.

Despite the evidence demonstrating Brother having Narcissistic personality disorder ,

many people believe he is just a young child who doesn't have set morals yet, but they fail to see

that Brother is showing a strange amount of uncaringness towards his disabled brother Doodle.

Those who believe that Brother is bipolar not Narcissistic think this because of how Brother will

be happy and kind towards Doodle one moment and get frustrated with him for not being good

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enough the next. Although aspects of this argument are enticing, it ultimately fails to be a

stronger argument because throughout the story you would expect a young kid to show kindness

towards their disabled brother but Brother chooses to help him for himself because he is

embarrassed and he doesn’t want to have to help his brother forever. There were also parts in the

story that just seemed off such as the end when Brother ran home without Doodle even though

he knew his brother was weak and would have trouble making it home, which resulted in

Doodles death out in the freezing rain. If Brother was bipolar then he wouldn’t have just got mad

at Doodle when he couldn’t do things he would have possibly stormed off, and through the story

if Brother was bipolar he would have had more distinct mood changes/episodes. Now if he

showed narcissistic tendencies the making his brothers illness about himself and only helping

him for his own benefit would make much more sense.

In The Scarlet Ibis, Brother shows characteristics that support the possibility of him

having Narcissistic personality disorder because he continues to make Doodles disability about

his own feelings through the whole story because , “behind this mask of extreme confidence lies

a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.(Mayo clinic: Narcissistic

personality disorder)” . He will totally forget others in times of crisis for himself as well as

follow his own determination even in the pain of others. Many people disregard those of mental

illness as just weird or anti social but they may actually have a mental disorder. Most people see

kids as just being selfish because they do not have a sense of morals yet but what if they actually

have a mental disease that people choose to ignore.

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Work Cited

Bressert, Steve. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Symptoms & Treatments.” Psych Central,20 Apr. 2019,

Hurst, James. “The Scarlet Ibis.” Http://

“Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” Mayo Clinic,Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Nov. 2017,