The Red Pony

by: John Steinbeck

The Promise—Part 2

Although the colt is born, it is at a great cost. This is foreshadowed by Billy's early discussion of the possible difficulties of birthings, by Jody's pessimistic thoughts under the cypress tree, and even by the gory details of the story of Gabilan. Jody continually sees the raising of horses as an ideal. Even after Gabilan dies, he is able to fantasize about his new horse making him a hero. But his relationship with horses never works out seamlessly, signaling that nothing is ideal in the harsh reality of the West. When his new horse is birthed out of the death of its mother, Jody must face the crumbling of the illusions; he has exactly what he wants, a healthy, strong horse, but it came at a price that Jody cannot and, as is evident in his refusal to leave the barn, will not ignore. In gaining a horse at the cost of its mother, Jody must face the ridiculousness of his fantasies about "Black Demon." Once again, Jody's romanticized notions of the world he lives in have been punctured.