Friendship in Steinbeck’s “Tortilla Flat”

May 5, 2020
folder_opencategory: Literature

Every individual values friendship and loves it when he/she has real friends. The true alliance is possibly the only relation that outlives the tests and distresses of time and remains unrestricted. An exceptional mixture of care, faithfulness, love, admiration, trust, and lots of pleasurable moments is perhaps what defines the true value of friendship. Moreover, friends share common interests, joint respect and strong connection with one another. Their relations bring a sense of belonging and make life worth living. Naturally, to come into contact with real friendship, an individual must have true friends who are rare fortune. Each friend is like a universe in every individual that seems unborn until they arrive, and it is only by meeting them that everyone feels they belong to one another. Even though some people would prefer not to have friends, most of them rely greatly on the companionship of their comrades. As with any relation, friendships bring financial assistance and delight and, rarely, strife. It is much more than just wandering together and sharing good moments; it is when somebody comes to save you from the nastiest situations of life. All the mentioned above ideas are included into the novel “Tortilla Flat” written by John Steinbeck. The work tells about Danny and his friends. The paper will discuss the given piece of writing with regard to how friendship is portrayed in it.

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There is no doubt that nothing makes someone feel better than having a helpful friend. One of the basics of friendship is to support one another in times of need that is vividly portrayed in the part where Danny gets imprisoned. The jailer, Ralph, offers him help and buys him a drink and gets him out of the cell to cheer him up. He understands clearly that being behind bars is depressing and makes it possible for Danny to feel the warmth of the sun outside. Moreover, after enjoying the drinks together, Ralph helps the man and lets him go and, later, reports about his escape. There is one more situation that illustrates the true friendship. When Danny insults the fishermen he meets on the road heading to the sea, they take it lightly and even invite him to dine with them and have a drink later on during the night. This is exactly how real friends behave. Despite been abused, the men did not respond back but offered Danny to join them. Furthermore, when he escapes from jail, Danny runs straight to a restaurant where he encounters a cook who gladly gives him some food. When he comes across his old friend Pilon, he offers to help him with to roast the pork the latter has, and they even share the bottle of brandy Pilon has in his pocket. These examples prove that someone willing to support you in any way is a friend regardless of how tiny the help may seem, and their deeds can be called the acts of a true friend.

Another aspect of friendship mentioned in the work is the fact that friends share both good and bad memories of the things that they have undergone in life. True friends always have something to remember that puts a smile on their faces. For instance, when Danny and Pilon are eating roast pork and sharing the bottle of brandy, the former recalls some old friends and asks of their whereabouts. They speak about Arthur and Pablo mentioning that the first one is dead while another one is in jail. They also remember their old days, and how they worked hard for the benefit of the country. The men claim that their devotion to their jobs has left them with no roof over their heads. It is during this meeting that Danny recalls that he is the owner of a house and assures his friend that as long as he has a place where he can lie down and sleep, Pilon is privileged to have one as well.

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To continue, the “Tortilla Flat” proves that distance never separates true friends showing that no matter how far they wander away from each other, they will always meet later in life. Danny and Pilon have been away from each other for quite a while, and Pilon searched for his friend for a long time without success. Nonetheless, their paths cross, and they sit down and share a meal and a drink which is a good sign of true friendship. As it has already been stated, they chat recalling old memories of what they have done in life and their lost friends that is a thing that only friends do. Moreover, they share their stuff as a sign of love and friendship. Although the bread is stale, Danny gives a part of it to Pilon together with the boiled hams. Furthermore, he opens up to his comrade and tells him that he is now the heir of the Viejo house. Some things in life can only be discussed with a real friend, and the fact that Danny unbosoms himself to Pilon is a sign that they are true friends. Friends have conversations that never end. They chat late at night until the dawn without minding the time spent while doing so. Despite the fog that fills in their coats with moisture and the strong wind, they do not get bored in the presence of each other. The men joke despite all the challenges they have faced.

Another point regarding friendship that can be distinguished is the fact that friends always have time for each other. Even though Pilon seems to be in haste when they meet up with Danny, he forgoes all his needs and concentrates on having a chat with his old comrade. The fishermen who hurriedly head to the sea take their time to invite Danny for a drink at their home despite the insults they receive and the busy schedule they have ahead. Thus, one can say that it is not the amount of time an individual hangs around with people that makes them friends. It is extending a helping hand that qualifies one to be a friend. Ralph, the jailer, takes time to share some drinks with Danny while the latter is in jail. What is more, when they finish, they take a decision to go and buy more of them. The act itself serves as a sign of real care that comes along with friendship. It does not matter how busy or stressed a friend is; he or she will always find time to be with his peers and share moments of joy.

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The last idea that has to be mentioned is that friends provide a sense of reassurance and give hope to one another. Pilon tells his friend that the latter will definitely forget all about him and the moments shared together since he has become the heir of the house. Nevertheless, Danny assures him that he will always consider him as a true friend and convinces him that as long as he has a roof over his head, Pilon will never lack somewhere to sleep as well. Though Pilon does not believe that this is what will really happen and says that he will not believe it unless he witnesses it, Danny makes it very clear to him that he is a true friend that will share whatever he has.

In conclusion, “Tortilla Flat” written by Steinbeck demonstrates several aspects of friendship. To start from, it provides its meaning that lies in the generosities, care, love, and assistance offered by the characters. Friends help to deal with stress and forget all the challenges an individual is encountering even if it is just for a while. Having escaped from the jail, Danny does not remember about his imprisonment anymore after meeting up with Pilon. No doubt, friends are important assets that everyone should treasure. It takes nothing from someone to put a smile on another person’s face or to extend a hand and offer help. Friends cheer up when one is down and give him/her a new meaning of life. When things are falling apart, true friends will always be there to rescue making it easy to live. For instance, Pilon gets hope and assurance, and Danny meets many kind-hearted friends. Help, memories shared, and the value of time and friendship make life worth living for Danny. Even though some people claim they do not require anyone in their life to make it interesting, without friends it is almost not possible to lead a meaningful life with love, affection, care, and joy. Friends act like food and refreshers to people’s souls. Any opportunity to make a friend and retain one is worth taking as having good and true friends that are always there for one when he/she needs them increases longevity.

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