Study Guide

Tortilla Flat Chapter 9: How Danny was ensnared by a vacuum-cleaner and how Danny's Friends rescued him.

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 9: How Danny was ensnared by a vacuum-cleaner and how Danny's Friends rescued him.

  • Dolores Engracia "Sweets" Ramirez is one of the ladies who lives in Tortilla Flat, and she has a reputation for being—how can we put this?—well, friendly with men.
  • When Sweets figures out that Danny is a landowner, she decides she needs to trap him. She waits for him out at her front gate for months, hoping he'll walk by.
  • Danny finally does walk by, and Sweets invites him in. He's kind of irritated that she doesn't want to get busy right then and there, but she explains that they need to wait until nighttime, when the neighbors won't know what's up. He promises to come back in the evening.
  • Danny and Pablo go to Torrelli's and get drunk, and then Danny goes to buy a present for Sweets.
  • The guys go to a jewelry shop and see tons of secondhand junk for sale. Danny chooses a vacuum cleaner and brings it to Sweets, who is thrilled to show off her new gadget to her jealous friends... even if she doesn't have electricity to make it run.
  • Danny starts spending every night at Sweets's house, and his friends start to get jealous. They try to tell him that Sweets is telling everybody that Danny not only bought her a vacuum, he's also going to have her electricity installed.
  • Danny gets mad, and Pilon tells him to take away the vacuum from Sweets so she won't need electricity anymore.
  • Pilon helps his buddy out. He sneaks into Sweets's house and steals the vacuum cleaner. Then he takes it to Torrelli's, where he trades it for—wait for it—more wine.
  • Danny and the gang get drunk, and Danny decides he's sick of Sweets, anyway.
  • Torrelli tries out the vacuum and realizes it doesn't have a motor, so he gets pretty irritated with Pilon. The guys decide to buy their wine somewhere else for a while.