Tortilla Flat (Steinbeck) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions 
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Tortilla Flat:

1. To what extent do you admire or disapprove of the Paisanos and their way of life?

2. What might Steinbeck have been getting at? Does he portray the Paisanos as heroes...or not? (Read Steinbeck's preface.) To what degree is this story a commentary on society's materialism?

3. Disucss the character of each of the Paisanos: Danny, Pilon, Pablo, the Pirate, Jesus Maria, and Big Joe. How does each contribute to the overall group—what qualities does each bring to the others? Do you identify with any character—or any of their qualities?

4. At one point, Pilon stops to watch sea gulls soaring in the sky above him. He becomes immersed in the moment and in the appreciation of beauty. Think there might be some sort of thematic concern here? Any ideas?

5. What is at the root of Danny's disenchantment? What motivates him? Do you think he's a tragic figure? Or a martyr of sorts?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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