CliffsNotes on Steinbeck's The Red Pony, Chrysanthemums, and Flight

CliffsNotes on Steinbeck's The Red Pony, Chrysanthemums, and Flight

CliffsNotes on Steinbeck's The Red Pony, Chrysanthemums, and Flight

CliffsNotes on Steinbeck's The Red Pony, Chrysanthemums, and Flight

Excerpt

Steinbeck's short novel, The Red Pony, is a classic tale of a young boy's coming of age and his initiation into manhood. It consists of four short stories dealing with the Tiflin family and with Jody Tiflin, in particular. In "The Gift," when we first meet Jody, he is ten years old, not even an adolescent; during this story and the remaining three stories, Steinbeck will focus on Jody's gradual maturation. As a typical ten-year-old, Jody is like most farm boys. In general, he obeys his parents, but as we see, he forgets to do his chores, teases wild birds, and even smashes an occasional muskmelon because of his restlessness. Already he is feeling the need to be a man — to be responsible for something that is his. This spark of independence, however, is not accepted lightly by Jody's parents. Farm life is hard, and it demands discipline. Yet Jody's parents are willing to test their young son and fulfill his dream of owning a horse of his own. In fact, the horse, Gabilan, will test them all — their patience with one another, their understanding of Jody's protectiveness, indulgence, and love for Gabilan, and their own insights into themselves when Gabilan dies. In these stories, Steinbeck's theme is, foremost, the discipline which is necessary in order to cope with life — and with death.

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