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Tortilla Flat

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by

Rebecca Thompson

on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of Tortilla Flat

John Steinbeck Tortilla Flat Just outside of Monterey, CA lived a group of
paisanos - Spanish or Italian peasants. Among
them there is Danny, Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria,
and Big Joe Portagee. While drunk, they
decided to enlist once World War I broke out. After
some time they returned to Monterey. Danny found
out that his grandfather passed away - leaving two
houses on Tortilla Flat which now belonged to him.
In the preface, Steinbeck reveals his
intentions to make his novella
a parallel to King Arthur &
the knights of the
round table. When Danny & Pilon reunite... Background Information Pilon is amazed by Danny's property & also points out the uselessness in having two homes with just one person.
"'So you think now,' said Pilon coldly. 'But when you have two houses to sleep in, then you will see. Pilon will be a poor paisano, while you eat with the mayor'" (11).
Danny ends up agreeing to rent Pilon the other house for $15 a month, but Pilon has never had this much money in his life.
Every time Pilon attempts to pay Danny a portion of the rent he runs into the same conflict - he gets distracted and spends the money on wine.
He tells himself that Danny would rather have a good time drinking wine with his friend instead of getting money but then ends up drinking it himself. When Pilon was on his way back to Danny's he ran into Pablo, an old friend of his who he thought was in jail.
Pilon immediately invites Pablo come to the house with him and enjoy the wine which was meant to be a gift for Danny but has, yet again, been used for himself.
In attempt to free his debt with Danny, Pilon offers to rent a part of the house to Pablo for $15 a month, which he heartily accepts. So, who is Pilon exactly? The Pirate Steinbeck's uses of literary
devices... "This is the story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house" (preface). When Pilon finds Pablo... Pilon is one of Danny's friends and he almost manipulates Danny into letting him rent, even though he knows he can't pay for it.
The reader can sense Pilon's good intentions, but his plans never seem to work out.
His character really comes out at the end of the book when he comes up with the clever idea of chucking rocks at ships, making the fishermen upset, so they threw fish back in anger - supplying them with dinner.
Eventually, several people are living in the second house with Pilon including the Pirate. "He was a huge, broad man, with a tremendous black and bushy beard" (39).
The Pirate lived in "the filth of an old chicken house" (41) with five dogs.
He was happy with his life until Pilon came and convinced him that he "deserves a better one" and that his "friends" won't visit him because they don't want to see him this way, when, really, Pilon just wants his money.
The Pirate plays an important role in representing the theme of Steinbeck's novella - even though things may seem unimportant, they have meaning. (even though the Pirate's home was filthy, it was a place he could call his own and be comfortable in it.) irony: The Pirate promises God that if he heals his sick dog he will buy St. Francis a 1,000-quarter candle and when the dog heals it gets hit by a truck.
irony: The candle that the Pirate spent all his money on burns the house down.
simile: The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man.
symbol: the Pirate's money stash represents the bond between their friendship. & how he uses literary devices to reveal theme
Full transcript