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Tortilla Flat | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • After World War I

    Danny discovers he is an heir, gets drunk, and goes to jail.

    Chapter 1
  • One month later

    Danny vows to share his inheritance with his friend Pilon.

    Chapter 1
  • The next day

    Danny moves into one house and agrees to rent the other to Pilon.

    Chapter 2
  • Months later

    Pilon, unable to pay rent, convinces Pablo to move into Danny's second house.

    Chapter 3
  • Sometime later

    Pablo and Pilon, unable to pay rent, convince Jesus Maria to move in.

    Chapter 4
  • That night

    Danny's second house burns down.

    Chapter 5
  • The next day

    Pilon, Pablo, and Jesus Maria apologize to Danny and move in with him.

    Chapter 6
  • That night

    Jesus Maria vows to keep Danny fed, and Pilon and Pablo reluctantly promise too.

    Chapter 6
  • Soon after

    Pilon realizes the Pirate has a secret stash of money and resolves to help spend it.

    Chapter 7
  • In the following days

    The Pirate moves in and asks for help guarding money he is saving toward a gift for Saint Francis.

    Chapter 7
  • Sometime later

    Big Joe gets released from military prison, returns to Tortilla Flat, and moves into Danny's house.

    Chapter 8
  • Sometime later

    Big Joe tries to steal the Pirate's money, and the friends buy the gift for Saint Francis.

    Chapter 12
  • The following Sunday

    The Pirate's dogs see a holy vision.

    Chapter 12
  • Sometime later

    Danny goes mad, runs away, abandons all morals, and attempts to sell his house to Torrelli.

    Chapter 15
  • Days or weeks later

    Danny acts depressed, so his friends decide to throw him a party.

    Chapter 16
  • That night

    After appearing to be godlike at a party of mythic proportions, Danny falls into a gulch and dies.

    Chapter 16
  • The next Friday

    Everyone in Tortilla Flat attends Danny's funeral and military burial except his best friends.

    Chapter 17
  • That night

    Danny's friends let Danny's house burn down, and everyone walks away alone.

    Chapter 17

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface The preface to Tortilla Flat introduces the story "of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house" and "of how the... Read More
Chapter 1 Danny comes home from the war and learns his grandfather has died and left him two houses. It worries Danny to be a prop... Read More
Chapter 2 Danny and Pilon visit Danny's houses and decide to move into the larger of the two. They are happy to have such comfort ... Read More
Chapter 3 The next morning, Pilon moves into Danny's second house. The two friends often spend time together, and Pilon never pays... Read More
Chapter 4 Pilon and Pablo live together in contentment. Every morning they get up late and sit in the sun, gossiping and philosoph... Read More
Chapter 5 It is a pleasant afternoon, and the people of Monterey are all beginning to prepare for evening. Barkeeps water down the... Read More
Chapter 6 When Danny wakes up the morning after the fire, he pretends to feel angry at his friends and worried about losing presti... Read More
Chapter 7 The Pirate is a mentally challenged man who lives with his five dogs in an abandoned chicken house. He spends every day ... Read More
Chapter 8 Big Joe Portagee returns home from the war later than Danny and his other friends because he has been in military prison... Read More
Chapter 9 Sweets Ramirez is not exactly beautiful, but she has a certain quality men find appealing. She stands by her front gate ... Read More
Chapter 10 Jesus Maria is "a pathway for the humanities." He always tries to help people who are sad or suffering. He is never crue... Read More
Chapter 11 One day Big Joe gets caught in the rain and takes shelter in the home of a middle-aged woman, Tia Ignacia. Seeing him en... Read More
Chapter 12 The Pirate still cuts wood in an effort to earn a quarter every day, and he is still saving his money under Danny's pill... Read More
Chapter 13 Teresina Cortez has many children and will probably have many more. Her husband has long since abandoned her, and yet sh... Read More
Chapter 14 Danny and his friends tell time by the sun. They sleep and rise when it suits them. Only Danny is allowed to use the bed... Read More
Chapter 15 Monterey has a "changeless quality," and so does the life of Danny and his friends. By now they have settled into "a rou... Read More
Chapter 16 "After his amok," Danny falls into a depression. Nothing the friends do or say can snap him out of it, so they decide to... Read More
Chapter 17 Because Danny is a veteran, he receives a military funeral with plenty of fanfare. Everyone in Tortilla Flat attends it—... Read More
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