Through the use of explicit examples, as well as subtle metaphors, Steinbeck emphasizes certain character traits of Jody and shows how his personality matures from the first section to the last.By looking closely at Steinbeck's methods of demonstrating the changes in Jody, a greater appreciation of the author's writing skill is unveiled and a deeper appreciation of the story is gained.
Although Jody may be unfamiliar with some aspects of nature, he is not unaware of the cycle of life and death.The first section of The Red Pony is called "The Gift," and the first time that Jody is introduced to the reader, he is referred to as "the boy Jody." Immediately following this, Steinbeck writes: "He was only a little boy, ten years old." There is no doubt in the reader's mind, at this point, that Jody is young.Steinbeck makes sure that Jody is perceived as nowhere near being a man, not even a young man. When he hears his mother ring the triangle, a sign to get out of bed and down to the kitchen for breakfast, there is absolutely no hesitation.Next, Steinbeck has the young boy wishing to go along with his father and Billy as they prepare to take a herd of cattle to town to be butchered.This is a grown-up chore, and Jody longs to be included.The four stories connect most evidently in the character of Jody and the fact that two of the stories involves horses and two involve the passing of members of the older generation is significant in ways that may not be immediately apparent from the loose structure.Essentially, is a standard coming-of-age story about young boy learning the hard lessons necessary to mature into a young man.Jody is old enough to understand this on a rational level.He has yet to experience loss and death on an emotional level.Billy Buck, the ranch hand, must inform Jody that the spot of blood is the sign of fertilization that the rooster has left behind.It's interesting to note that Steinbeck does not have Jody's mother or his stern father report this fact to Jody.