Tortilla Flat Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Tortilla Flat

Danny, a young man living in poverty and alcoholism in California, finds out after being released from prison that his grandfather has died, and Danny has inherited two houses. Soon, he has invited one friend to live with him, who invites another, who invites another, until the floor of the rooms are covered with peoples' belongings. Steinbeck describes in detail the escapades of the friends, from chasing women and buying them vacuum cleaners to rooting around the forest in the middle of the night trying to find gold, until one day, Danny begins to think about the old days, when he was free to sleep on the streets or in the forest, drink as much wine as he could afford and be put in jail, and have no place to live, and no one to have to come home to. He leaves his friends and spends a few days wandering the streets, before his friends convince him to come home again. However, Danny is still stir crazy. Can this friendship utopia last?
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The review of this Book prepared by Caroline T

Loosely based in the King Arthur's legend, as Steinbeck stated, war veteran Danny returns to his home in Tortilla Flat, and begins to drink heavily. He finds that his grandfather, a very respected citizen of Tortilla Flat, has just passed away and Danny inherits two of his houses.

Danny rents one of theses properties to Pilon and Pablo, friends of his also addicted to alcohol. They cheat each other, go after women and work part-time in the sea shore taking care of the goods.

Finally, they desire the money of a hard-working outcast named Pirate, who teaches them to respect each other's belongings and find peace in themselves. Danny has an epiphany as he realizes his life is repetitive and without direction and, not knowing quite sure what he needs, commits suicide while being drunk. The two properties burn down and the remaining friends split following different paths.
The review of this Book prepared by Augusto Wong Campos

Chapter Analysis of Tortilla Flat

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Drinking/Drugs problems?    -   alcohol

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)    -   Hispanic/Latinic


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Tortilla Flat

John Steinbeck Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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