From the rural farm lands of 1900s in Salinas, California, Steinbeck derived settings of rocky mountain range of his home land into most of his novel including Of Mice and Man, Grapes of wrath, and "Flight". Like in many literature master pieces of Steinbeck, he usually involves his life experience into his writing. John Steinbeck also uses many examples of symbolism to foreshadow the crisis of his stories. In one of his most well known written work, "Flight", where a father dreams that his son, named Pepe, become a mature and responsible man. Pepe does not think much about it. His mother has criticize Pepe as a "lazy cow", and thinks that it " must have got into thy father's family" (772) as a mistake. After his father passed away, Pepe believes that he should grow up and become the man of the house; however in doing so, he encounters many difficult situation which later on leads to his tragic death. In John Steinbeck's short story "Flight", not only does he use animal reference and physical challenges, but also moral deterioration to further express the bildungsroman of Pepe throughout the story.
Throughout the story, animal references were used to describe Pepe and nature. While growing up, Mama Torres has always called Pepe "a lazy cow"(772). Mama Torres has always consider Pepe as a child, never a man. Later on, while Pepe was using his switch blade, "Pepe's wrist flicked like the head of a snake"(773). Pepe's growth slowly progresses through the comparison of animal intelligent because he moved from a cow; which is rather consider to lack more intelligence to that of a snake. According to critic Piacentino, Pepe's animal- like nature is further emphasized by the repetitive reference of his snake-like characteristic. The repetitive animal reference also foreshadows the murder of a man from his impetuous nature.