What meaning or message is conveyed in the first eight chapter of the novel about the subject of community? What ideas does this section convey about communities and/or what behaviors, values, etc. make them fractured or ideal?

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John Steinbeck paints a clear contrast between the collective mentality and solidarity among the men in the paisano community until one man, Danny, becomes wealthier than the rest. The author shows a world of irresponsible, macho, homosocial behavior that indicates the men’s lack of concern for the future and their adherence to an ideology of sharing, even though what they have in common is largely poverty and bad luck. When Danny’s luck changes, his friends assume that they should share in his riches the same as they had shared in his poverty.

Pillon, one of Danny’s friends, suspects that Danny will be changed by his new prosperity and tries to stop that from happening. Danny insists that they are like Round Table knights, but the other men’s resentment creeps in. Furthermore, the others do not overnight become more responsible and, sadly, they carelessly burn down Danny’s house.

Because Danny had no foundation in responsible ownership, he is easily swayed by his friends' pressure to continue to conform to the old ways. An instant change of fortune did not—and, Steinbeck implies, cannot—become the basis for success.

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