At the beginning of “The Gift,” Steinbeck uses imagery that foreshadows what ultimately happens at the end of the chapter. What imagery described early on serves as a hint at what is to occur in the book?
In the book The Red Pony, John Steinbeck prepares the reader in the chapter of the book titled "The Gift," with imagery that foreshadows events that will occur in a later chapter in the book.
Jody, the boy who will eventually own the red pony, feels a strange sensation of loss. He looks up in the hills and sees buzzards hovering above, circling. He knew enough about nature and the buzzards to know that an animal had died.
"Over the hillside, two black buzzards sailed low to the ground..."(Steinbeck, 1965, p. 4).
Jody hated the buzzards because of the way they waited to attack the dead flesh of an animal.
"Jody hated them as all decent things hate them, but they could not be hurt because they made away with carrion" (Steinbeck, 1965, p. 5).
Later in the book, the red pony has a wound to his throat. The pony escapes from the barn and up the ridge. Jody sees the buzzards flying high in the sky in a circular pattern. The buzzards begin to make their decent, still circulating. Panic and anger envelop Jody as he runs to where he saw the buzzards drop out of his sight line. He sees his pony with the buzzards standing nearby waiting for the dying horse to breathe its last breath. The sight is the event that was foreshadowed at the beginning of the book. By the time Jody had reached the pony, a buzzard already had plucked the pony's eye out.
"And in a circle around him stood the buzzards, waiting for the moment of death they know so well" (Steinbeck, 1965, p. 36).
Jody demonstrates his anger and hatred for the buzzards and their affiliation with death by grabbing a buzzard's wing and pushing it to the ground. He kills the bird by stabbing it many times with a sharp quartz rock.
"He struck again and again until the buzzard lay dead until its head was red pulp" (Steinbeck, 1965, p. 37).