John Steinbeck Writing Styles in Tortilla Flat

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Point of View

Tortilla Flat is narrated in the third person past omniscient by someone (unnamed) who is sympathetic to his young characters even at their most larcenous. He allows them to speak for themselves in their own voices in first person in extensive passages of dialog, and is careful to identify them and capture their emotions.

The preface sets up this as an apologetic work. The narrator fears that dry scholars will some day write up the "story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house," how they flourish "as an organization beautiful and wise." It would be a shame to reduce them to "primitive symbols" or legends such as Sir Arthur, Roland, or Robin Hood. Having set the novel in and around Monterey, CA, shortly after Armistice Day, 1918, the narrator describes Danny coming home from the army, learning he has inherited two houses from his...

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This section contains 1,502 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tortilla Flat Study Guide
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