The novel's protagonist, he is a bowlegged, twenty-five-year-old paisano from the Tortilla Flat area of Monterey, California, at the time the US enters World War I.
He is invited to rent for fifteen dollars a month one of the two houses his friend inherits. Neither expects the rent to be paid.
Jesus Maria Corcoran
The son of a rich, respected prizefighter, he is a red-bearded, humanitarian with a grasshopper brain, an aficionado of wine and women and an opportunistic thief.
A huge man with a bushy black beard, shabby clothing, good heart and limited intelligence, he lives in seclusion and destitution in a chicken coop with a pack of protective and obedient dogs.
Big Joe Portagee
He spends three-quarters of his Army hitch in the brig for a variety of offenses because he is not good at following orders...
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