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The Natural World in the Red Pony

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:16 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 81.8 
  • Words: 880
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In “The Red Pony” by John Steinbeck, the natural world and how man affects or tries to affect it is a big theme.   In this novel, the fight between man and nature is clearly shown, yet a winner isn’t.   In this book, the deaths and births of animals plays a large role in this struggle, nature affects man, and man affects nature.

The deaths and births of animals play a large role in the struggle for power between man and nature.   This is shown in the book when Steinbeck says, “When he arrived, it was all over.   The first buzzard sat on the pony’s head and its beak had just risen dripping with dark eye fluid.” This is when the red pony dies.   After the red pony got sick, Billy attempted to save it.   His efforts were fruitless.   Man was unsuccessful in effecting nature by saving the pony.   I agree with this because it tells how man fails in trying to change nature.     Man is successful in changing nature with the births and deaths of animals later in the story, though.   Steinbeck writes, “Billy jumped to the swollen stomach; his big pocketknife was in his hand.   He lifted the skin and drove the knife in.   He sawed and ripped at the tough belly.   The air filled with the sick odor of warm living entrails.” On the same page he also writes, “Billy dropped the knife.   Both of his arms plunged into the terrible ragged hole and dragged out a big, white, dripping bundle.   His teeth tore a hole in the covering.   A little black head appeared through the tear, and little, slick, wet ears.”   These quotes are describing Billy as he saves the colt, but kills Nellie in the process.   This shows that man can have an effect on nature.   Billy chose to save the colt, but kill the mare.   In the sense of the births and deaths of animals, man sometimes can and sometimes can’t affect nature.

Nature affects man many ways in this story and in real life.   In this story, the Tiflins rely a lot nature for there farm.   They use horses for various farm jobs, and they get food by...


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