Study Guide

Tortilla Flat Three-Act Plot Analysis

By John Steinbeck

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I

The first act really sets up the brotherhood at the center of Tortilla Flat. Danny has allowed his friends Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria, the Pirate, and Big Joe to move into his house, which he inherited from his grandfather. The guys form a sort of brotherhood known as Danny's friends or Danny's House.

Act II

The second act chronicles Danny's friends' hijinks and Danny's decline. Things are a lot of fun for a while, but Danny grows restless and runs off into the woods. His friends are worried about him and decide to throw a party to cheer him up when he finally comes back.


The final act reaches its climax with Danny's tragic end, which is also the end of the gang. At the party, Danny gets drunk and dances and fights with everyone he sees. He ends up running off a cliff and dying. The house burns down, and the friends all walk away, ending their brotherhood.