Tortilla Flat

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Novel by Steinbeck, published in 1935 and dramatized by Jack Kirkland in 1937.

In the uphill district above Monterey, Cal., live paisanos, colored like “a well-browned meerschaum pipe” and combining “Spanish, Indian, Mexican and assorted Caucasian bloods,” a feckless, innocently amoral group of men and women. Among them is Danny, the chance owner of two houses, one of which he rents to his friend Pilon for $15, which is never paid, and to their drinking companion Pablo. The three of them pilfer from their neighbors, drink gallons of wine from the saloon of the formidable Torrelli, and pursue amours with such gallant ladies as Sweets Ramirez, Tia Ignacio, Mrs.Morales, and the incredibly promiscuous Cornelia Ruiz. The circle of “Danny's friends” also includes Big Joe Portagee, Jesus Maria Corcoran, and the half-witted Pirate, always accompanied by five dogs. This “Round Table” of friends, whose primitive love of pleasure is balanced by a superstitious love of the Church, comes to an end when an unusually uproarious party leads to Danny's death and the burning of his house.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John Steinbeck (1902—1968) American novelist

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