John Steinbeck book review/ essay for the book tortilla flat
While reading your selected text, keep track of the major characters, and how they have interacted with the environment in which
they work/live. These books all take place in California, so as you read through the book, research the time period, research the region in which this text takes place and understand its geography (such as Cannery Row). When reading, however, look for the main ideas and be ready to discuss them.
• Locations: Where does this story take place? What is the general time period? What is the general topography, or landscape… and does that help the story?
• Applying In-Course Lecture: Throughout the term, we have and will discuss many topics, such as ethnicity, economics, agriculture, and others. How can you bring in the learned knowledge to better understand the story you are reading– or use that knowledge to understand why this story was written.
• Characters: Who are the main characters? What happens to them? Did you like them? Were there good and bad characters?
• Main Ideas: What is the main idea of the book? What happens? What did you learn that you did not know before?
• Quotes: What parts did you like best? Are there parts that you could quote to make your report more enjoyable?
When You Are Ready to Write Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not like, would have changed, or if you would recommend this book to others and why. Consider the following items as well:
• Principles/Characters: What elements did you like best? Which characters did you like best and why? How does the author unfold the story or the main idea of the book?
• Organize: Make sure that most of your paper summarizes the work. Then you may analyze the characters or themes of the work.
• Your Evaluation: Choose one or a few points to discuss the book. What worked well for you? How does this work compare with others by the same author or other books in the same genre? What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they? Did the book appeal to you in an emotional or logical way?
Do a quick double-check of your paper:
• The length requirement is at least 1,250 words, 1.5 spacing, and the font of your choice. The bibliography should be in place if you use outside resources and/or quote the book. Double-check the spelling of the author’s name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
• Check the punctuation and grammar slowly.
• Make sure you provide enough summary so that your reader or instructor can tell you read the book.
• Consider adding some interesting quotes from the reading.
• Lastly, make sure that your paper has incorporated the knowledge learned in this course- how has the geography of California influenced this writing? How has learning about the geography of California helped explain some details, regions, and history from the book?







Essay on “Tortilla Flat” by John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck’s novel “Tortilla Flat” is a classic piece of American literature that delves into the lives of a group of paisanos living in Monterey, California. Set during the Great Depression, the story captures the essence of poverty, friendship, and the struggles faced by the characters against the backdrop of the Californian landscape. Through an exploration of the locations, characters, themes, and overall narrative, this essay aims to provide a comprehensive review of Steinbeck’s work.

Locations and Time Period

“Tortilla Flat” is set in Monterey, California, known for its rugged coastline, picturesque landscapes, and rich history. The story unfolds during the 1930s, a time marked by economic hardship and social upheaval in America. The topography of Monterey, with its rolling hills, coastal cliffs, and vibrant fishing industry, plays a significant role in shaping the lives of the characters and the events that transpire in the novel.


The main characters in “Tortilla Flat” are a group of friends – Danny, Pablo, Pilon, Pirate, and others – who live a carefree and unconventional lifestyle in an abandoned shack. Each character has their unique quirks, virtues, and flaws, which add layers to the narrative. Steinbeck portrays them with a mix of humor, warmth, and poignancy, making them relatable and endearing to the readers. The interactions of these characters with each other and their environment highlight themes of loyalty, community, and the struggle for dignity amidst poverty.

Main Ideas

At its core, “Tortilla Flat” explores the themes of friendship, generosity, and the complexities of human relationships. The novel delves into the dynamics of camaraderie among the paisanos, their shared experiences, and the bonds that hold them together. Through their misadventures and acts of kindness, Steinbeck conveys a message of resilience in the face of adversity and the transformative power of human connection.


One of the memorable quotes from “Tortilla Flat” is when Steinbeck writes: “It has always seemed strange to me…the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system.” This quote encapsulates the underlying themes of the novel and invites readers to ponder on the true values that define humanity.


Steinbeck’s masterful storytelling in “Tortilla Flat” captivates readers with its vivid descriptions, rich characterizations, and poignant observations on human nature. The author skillfully weaves together humor and pathos to create a compelling narrative that resonates with readers across generations. The novel’s exploration of friendship and community reflects Steinbeck’s recurring themes of solidarity and compassion amidst hardship.

In conclusion, “Tortilla Flat” stands as a timeless work of literature that continues to enchant readers with its timeless themes and evocative storytelling. Its portrayal of human relationships, resilience, and the enduring spirit of camaraderie makes it a must-read for those seeking profound insights into the human experience.

Incorporating the geographical and historical context of California enriches the reading experience by providing a deeper understanding of the setting and its impact on the characters’ lives. By immersing oneself in Steinbeck’s portrayal of Monterey and its inhabitants, readers can appreciate the nuances of the narrative and gain valuable insights into the socio-cultural dynamics of the time period.

Through its exploration of friendship, poverty, and the human spirit, “Tortilla Flat” remains a poignant reminder of the enduring power of compassion and solidarity in the face of adversity. As readers delve into Steinbeck’s world, they embark on a journey that transcends time and space to discover timeless truths about the resilience of the human heart.


This question has been answered.

Get Answer