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The Red Pony

The Red Pony


by John Steinbeck

The Red Pony Theme of Disappointment

For all the promise and hope that Jody experiences in The Red Pony, there are a whole lot of bummers coming down the pike, too. For Jody, the happiest moments often come with their fair share of disappointments. And handling both of those two extremes is one of the most important tricks to learn when it comes to growing up.

Questions About Disappointment

  1. Is Jody a disappointment to his father? Or is Carl a disappointment to Jody? Or both? Or neither?
  2. Why does Carl seem as if he is not disappointed when Gitano steals his horse?
  3. When Grandfather comes to the Tiflin ranch, all he talks about is his life's greatest achievement that happened a very long time ago. Do you think he is disappointed with the rest of his life?
  4. What's the most disappointing moment for Jody in the book?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Sure, Jody's sad that Gabilan's dead, but he's more disappointed in Billy Buck's failure than anything else.

When Billy kills Nellie to save her baby colt, Jody is more than disappointed in the ranch hand, the boy actually hates him.

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