The Red Pony - Short Answer Questions

Jody Tiflin (Peter Miles) training his pony in a publicity still from the 1949 movie.

Jody Tiflin (Peter Miles) training his pony in a publicity still from the 1949 movie.

  1. Describe Jody's personality. What kind of boy is he? How do you know?
  2. Describe the most significant places on the ranch. How are these places important to the individual stories? How are they important to the collection of stories as a whole?
  3. Steinbeck refers to the ringing of the triangle on several occasions. What might the triangle represent?
  4. What evidence can you find in the text that suggests Billy Buck is indeed an expert with horses? Is he to blame for Gabilan's death? Why or why not?
  5. What events in the story teach Jody about the fallibility of man, or that no one is perfect?
  6. Jody blames himself for falling asleep while watching Gabilan and allowing him to wander out into the cold night. Is Jody ultimately at fault for the death of the pony? Why or why not?
  7. Why does Jody beat the buzzard he finds perched on Gabilan to death?
  8. Why does Jody think there is a great mystery to the Santa Lucia Mountains?
  9. Describe Carl Tiflin's attitude towards the aging.
  10. Why does Jody decide to keep his observation of Gitano's rapier a secret?
  11. Why does Gitano steal Old Easter?
  12. Carl breeds his mare for five dollars in order for Jody to have a horse of his own. Assess the fairness of working all summer long and taking care of Nellie in respect to the value of five dollars. Is the horse worth the work?
  13. Why does Jody fear Sundog will hurt Nellie?
  14. Why does Billy Buck kill Nellie?
  15. What does Carl Tiflin find so annoying about Grandfather? Why?
  16. What does Grandfather say is the real significance behind the stories he tells?
  17. Why does Jody want to someday lead the people as well?
  18. Why doesn't Jody ask for a lemon to make lemonade for himself as well as Grandfather at the end of "The Leader of the People"?
  19. Steinbeck uses red to describe many different things in each of his stories. Why do you think Steinbeck chose the color red for these descriptions?

Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Critical Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts | Major Themes