Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

tortilla flatThese men are poverty stricken. They have no money and I think, their life is not “a life” at all, according to what I believe. They only drink wine for a living. The routine of drinking wine and getting drunk, talking to each other, and then sleeping is their everyday’s job. They sell their belongings one by one just to get a bottle of wine. These men are in the total of six: Danny, Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria, the Pirate and Big Joe.

This story starts with the main of these six men. Danny inherits two houses. Shortly after receiving these houses, Danny gets really drunk and is sent to jail. You may firstly think that this story is about the time when Danny is in jail but it is not. Danny escapes shortly afterwards and then, after a small conversation (and of course, some wine) with Pilon, he gives the house to him. Pilon lives in the smaller of the two houses and Danny lives in the bigger. For me, why would I give my house to someone else? These men are too drunk to even reconsider it.

Other than Pilon, Danny also shares the two houses with some other men. All these men including Danny has a tendency (especially when they are drunk) to think women as decoration in life. Women are not a decoration, advantage or even a toy! I feel so outrages to think about this. Woman, to them is a second class. This is the exact opposite with the treatment of women in Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Women in Tolkien’s story are considered powerful and magical.

Those men have a series of adventures. They are helping the poor and stealing from the rich. It reminds me so much of Robin Hood saga. Do some people know how hard some rich people work to earn their money? Do they know that some poor people refuse to even work at all? And sometimes poor people are gamblers, spending their money for pointless luck. Of course, I know rich people can be evil and poor people are humble. You can’t draw the same picture to every aspect of life.

Tortilla Flat is a novella, written by John Steinbeck who is a doubtlessly American hero in literature. He was born on February 27, 1902 and passed away in the year 1968, December 20th. He won many awards, including the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1962, which is so cool. He is the author of sixteen novels, six non-fiction, and five collection of short stories.

For me, these men in the story are not even really true friends. After Danny’s death, they split up. This is what bothering me the most. If they are real friends, when their leader who supplies their happiness passes away, they wouldn’t split up. That does not make sense. I am sure none of Danny’s friends lasts more then twenty years in life. They stay drunk and poor forever. However, maybe this is what Steinbeck wants to highlight; that these men exercise their “freedom”. Freedom is to do whatever they like without worrying what the future would bring.


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