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The Sixth Sense Symbolism Essay The Scarlet

It's not hard to see how cold might be symbolic in a film about, well, deadness. The bulk of the movie takes place in the fall following Malcolm's death, and the whole atmosphere of autumnal Philadelphia—with falling leaves and clearly less-than-summery temperatures—definitely carries a sense of the upcoming barrenness and lifelessness that winter brings.

Everyone knows that the temperature drops when there's a spirit in the house. That's just Ghost 101. For example, just before Cole sees the ghost of an abused wife in his kitchen, we see a close-up of the thermostat's needle dropping rapidly. Cole's mother complains frequently about being cold, too. She doesn't know it, but that's because Cole's surrounded by a bunch of ghostly visitors.

The heavy cold = ghost symbolism also gives us an early hint that Malcolm is dead. Early on, we see him creep in on his wife while she's sleeping, and she immediately draws the blanket closer around her.

When we don't know better, that gesture kind of plays like she's just mad at Malcolm and drawing away from his attempts at affection. It's all part of Shyamalan's misdirection about marital problems being the reason they aren't talking.

Later, though, we realize that her sudden chill is a big clue that Malcolm is a ghost just like all of Cole's furnace-busting buddies.

A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Example "The Scarlet Ibis" Plot Diagram


The setting is in a southern US state, on a small plantation where the narrator and his new baby brother live.

Major Inciting Conflict

The narrator's little brother, Doodle, is born with disabilities and health conditions. The narrator is unable to accept his brother's physical challenges.

Rising Action

Once the narrator realizes he is ‘stuck’ with Doodle, his pride convinces him to teach Doodle to be “normal”. Once he successfully teaches Doodle to walk, he believes it is possible to teach Doodle other things, and pushes him harder. One day during the summer, the family finds a scarlet ibis that dies in their yard. Doodle for develops a connection with this bird and wants it buried.


On the last day of training, Doodle shows that he is too weak to continue training. The narrator is upset, and as they decide to go home, a thunderstorm rolls in. The narrator begins running home, Doodle, however, cannot keep up and calls out, “Brother, don’t leave me.”

Falling Action

The narrator turns to go back to his brother, and finds him dead under a bush, in a similar position to the ibis.


The narrator recalls how his selfish pride killed Doodle.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of The Scarlet Ibis.

  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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