Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The Red Pony is regarded by critics as one of Steinbeck’s finest fictions. With a sure hand he integrates realistic detail of life in Monterey County, which he knew so well, with mystical speculations. The theme of the interconnected quality of all life is developed in greater depth and scope in The Grapes of Wrath (1939), but in The Red Pony the reader has an excellent introduction to Steinbeck’s distinctive combination of naturalism and transcendentalism. The education of Jody Tiflin in this book has been compared with Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories.