John Steinbeck's masterpiece celebrates the spirit and courage of adolescence. Steinbeck draws on his memories of childhood in these stories about a boy who embodies both the rebellious spirit and the contradictory desire for acceptance of early adolescence. Unlike most coming-of-age stories, the cycle does not end with a hero "matured" by circumstances. Reversing common interpretations, The Red Pony is imbued with a sense of loss. Jody's encounters with birth and death express a common theme in Steinbeck's fiction: They are parts of the ongoing process of life, resolving nothing.
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