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Tortilla Flat

John Steinbeck
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title Tortilla Flat

author John Steinbeck

type of work Fictional Novel

genre Novel of the California Experience

language English

time and place written California, 1935

date of first publication 1935

publisher Covici, Friede, Inc.

narrator Authorial narration

point of view Omniscient

tone Comical, playful, straightforward

tense Past

setting (time) Primarily post World War I, with the preface occurring before the war—during prohibition

setting (place) Tortilla Flat, California, above the town of Monterey

protagonist Danny

major conflict Free living versus comfort and age

rising action The paisanos partake in several adventures in which they help the poor, rob the rich, and drink lots of wine; Danny's melancholy grows throughout

climax Danny's Party

falling action Danny's Funeral

themes The beauty of simple things; immersion in the landscape; spirituality

motifs Justified theft; wine; helping those in need

symbols The machine gun; the black bird; the Pirate's stash; the vacuum cleaner

foreshadowing Danny's growing melancholy and restlessness is hinted at throughout the paisanos' early adventures