The Red Pony

1696 Words7 Pages
From Innocence to Experience For any human being, an essential part of his growth and development occurs through the loss of innocence. The age at this loss of innocence occurs varies among different cultures, as well as individuals. In American culture, an individual may typically experiences a loss of innocence sometime during childhood or as an adolescent. In The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, the author conveys the loss of innocence through the main character, Jody, a ten-year-old boy living in northern California in the early 1900’s. Steinbeck describes Jody’s experiences in the novel through four distinct books, independent of each other. Jody goes through life-changing experiences throughout the novel that lead to his loss of innocence, and in turn, he gains knowledge and matures over time. In the first book “The Gift,” Jody experiences human imperfection and death. The novel begins with Jody receiving a red pony given to him from his father, Carl Tiflin, and he takes good care of it with the aid of Billy Buck. Jody enjoys having Billy because he teaches Jody how to care for and train the pony, and most importantly, listens to and does whatever Jody says. In addition, Billy tells Jody many things about horses. For example, he explains that “they were terribly afraid for their feet, so that one must make a practice of lifting the legs and patting the hoofs and ankles to remove their terror” (15). This example shows that Billy knows a lot about horses, and Jody starts to gain a lot of trust in Billy, even with his pony’s life. One day, Jody worries about possible rain and tells his feelings to Billy, who guarantees him that it won’t rain. Because of this assurance, Jody leaves the red pony standing out in the corral, leaving the pony with Billy’s care feeling comfortable. However, Jody later realizes that Billy made a mistake when the rain
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