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PLOT SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS - Tortilla Flat
How three sinful men, through contrition, attained peace. How Danny's friends swore comradeship
The next day Danny contemplates the fire. At first he feels anger, but, ultimately, he realizes that he is relieved that he no longer has the burden of owning a second home. Danny forgives his friends, but decides that he must discipline them a little before he lets them know that they are forgiven.
In the meantime, Pilon, Pablo, and Jesus Maria awake in the forest. They consider going to another town for a while, but decide it is better to go to Danny to confess their wrong. Before they get to Danny’s house, they manage to “acquire” many items of reconciliation such as fruit , meat sandwiches, a magazine, and other items.
When the men arrive Danny begins by acting mad, but quickly it is apparent that he has forgiven them. They eat the food until they are stuffed. Pilon explains that they have the brassier as a present for Danny to give Mrs. Morales, but it seems that she does not want to keep his company since he has lost his second house. Danny brings a quart of grappa for them to share as a sign of his forgiveness. Although it is not explicitly stated, they all know that they four will live together in Danny’s house. Jesus Maria, to the dismay of Pilon and Pablo, promises Danny that as long as they live there, they will make sure that he always has food.
The most notable aspect of this section is the quality of the friendship that exists between these four men. Although they repeatedly scheme one another and complain about the strains impinged upon their friendship by the changed circumstances, at the basis of their relationship is true love and loyalty. Danny forgives them almost immediately, while, simultaneously, they make the tough decision to own up to the responsibility of the fire. While these characters do not always, or even often, make good decisions, when it is important they choose wisely.
The nuances of their relationship serve as a foil to the relationship between Danny and Mrs. Morales. Danny’s relationship with the men is based on a mutual respect and loyalty established well before Danny had anything. Danny and Mrs. Morales, conversely, have a relationship based on material objects. When Danny first tells the guys about her, he mentions her property and bank account. Likewise, when Danny loses his home, Mrs. Morales no longer wants to continue her relationship with him. This suggests that, much like Pilon suggested in the first chapter, that owning things can change people.