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Tortilla Flat

John Steinbeck

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