Bildungsroman: The Red Pony can be considered a traditional bildungsroman, or a text that traces the psychological development of a young protagonist who moves from childhood innocence to maturity and responsibility.
Phalanx: A traditional Greek warfare maneuver in which a very dense line of soldiers grouped together to create a moving wall of protection. Steinbeck applied the term phalanx to describe his theory about collective behavior or group man.
Rites of Passage: Culturally significant acts that ultimately lead to an event or ceremony in which one moves from one stage of life to another.
Westering: Westering in The Red Pony refers to the historical western migration of peoples across the Great Plains in the United States during the nineteenth century. The term is associated with Manifest Destiny or the political/cultural assumption that the United States was destined to occupy the entire continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.