Study Guide

Tortilla Flat Chapter 1: How Danny, home from the wars, found himself an heir, and how he swore to protect the helpless.

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 1: How Danny, home from the wars, found himself an heir, and how he swore to protect the helpless.

  • When Danny returns home from the army, he finds out that his grandfather has died and left him two little houses on Tortilla Flat.
  • Danny feels overwhelmed with the responsibility of home ownership (wouldn't you, if you were used to sleeping under the stars?), so he wanders around town insulting everyone he sees to get it out of his system. Well, that's one way to deal with it, we guess.
  • Danny gets thrown in jail for a month for breaking windows, and Tito Ralph, the jailer, takes him to a bar one night. Danny escapes and sleeps in the woods.
  • The next night, he sees his old friend, Pilon, walking funny, and realizes that Pilon must be hiding some food or wine, so he chases him down.
  • Pilon and Danny share some brandy and start talking about what has happened to all their friends. Some have died in the war, Pablo is in jail for stealing a goose… you know, the usual.
  • Suddenly, Danny remembers that he owns those two houses. Pilon says that the good times are over now that Danny's a property owner. Pilon thinks Danny will forget his friends.
  • Danny promises Pilon that he'll share everything with him.