Study Guide

Tortilla Flat Chapter 13: How Danny's Friends threw themselves to the aid of a distressed lady.

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 13: How Danny's Friends threw themselves to the aid of a distressed lady.

  • Teresina Cortez has eight kids, is pregnant with the ninth, and lives with her old mother. She gets pregnant easily and often, and she usually can't remember who the father of each baby is.
  • Teresina's kids eat nothing but beans and tortillas, but they're surprisingly healthy. They live off the beans left in the fields after the harvest.
  • One year, the bean crop fails, due to too much rain, and Teresina's family goes hungry.
  • Jesus Maria stops at Teresina's house for a visit and finds out about their trouble. He decides to help Teresina out, and enlists his friends to help, too.
  • The guys rob every restaurant they can think of and begin to bring Teresina more food than she knows what to do with. Since her family is used to beans, all the new kinds of food give them a bellyache, and she asks the friends for beans.
  • The friends rob a warehouse one night and put four hundred pounds of beans in Teresina's kitchen. Teresina and her mother think it's a miracle.
  • Teresina also gets pregnant that night, but she isn't sure which of the friends is the father.