34 Readers
17 Sages

shell pebble

Authoritarian myth-making

The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, John Seelye

Steinbeck doesn't rush, and wastes no words in this cycle of tales about ten year old 'little boy' Jody and his life on a ranch farm with his strict father, mother and Billy Buck the ranch hand. Jody's seemingly simple life is rich in harsh, bitter lessons about loss, death, heritage and fellowship.

Not a word is out of place in this economical work, and everything is foretold from the start. The inevitable approaches, and every cloud, every clod of dirt, every whine of Doubletree Mutt, signals its coming, which is perhaps what makes it so dull. I felt in a privileged relation to Jody, as the reader of a text obeying narrative laws, but this can function as an analogue of the superior knowledge and status of adulthood, and we are invited to enjoy his character and emotions, making possible his function as the medium for Steinbeck's intent.