The Red Pony
How we cite our quotes:
When the door was closed behind him, Jody heard his father and Billy Buck chuckling and he knew it was a joke of some kind. And later, when he lay in bed, trying to make words out of the murmurs in the other room, he heard his father protest, "But, Ruth, I didn't give much for him." (1.27)
Jody doesn't hear his parents argue often and when he does in this scene, it is from behind his closed bedroom door. They are disagreeing about something and Jody can only assume it has something to do with him. In fact, they are discussing a new red pony that Carl has bought for the boy. But as of this moment, Jody has no idea what the men's laughter and his parents' disagreement could be about. All families have secrets.
Jody sat with his chin in his hands; his mouth worked nervously, and his father gradually became aware that he wasn't listening very carefully. "Isn't that funny?" he asked.
Jody laughed politely and said, "Yes, sir." His father was angry and hurt, then. He didn't tell any more stories. (1.142-1.143)
Awkward. In a completely out-of-character moment, Carl is trying to cheer up his son with some funny stories. And let's just say, this is not Carl's strong suit. Plus, Jody's feeling mopey right now, and doesn't want to be bothered, thank you very much. But hey, at least Carl tried. It's a rare moment of fatherly affection from the guy.
The Saturday dragged on. Late in the afternoon Jody went to the house and brought his bedding down and made up a place to sleep in the hay. He didn't ask permission. He knew from the way his mother looked at him that she would let him do almost anything. (1.160)
Mrs. Tiflin may have her rules about hand washing and chores, but she knows when to bend 'em a bit. And in this case, it's clear her heart is going out to her son. Unfortunately there's just not much she can do for the kid. Jody knows it, too.