The Outcasts Of Poker Flats?

The Outcasts Of Poker Flats

What is the main message of The Outcasts of Poker Flat?

The Outcasts of Poker Flat – 🔒 5 “could scarcely have told from the equal peace that dwelt upon them which was she that had sinned.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The “white-winged birds” here are doves, typically associated with innocence, unity, and purity.

The color white is often associated with similar characteristics, and these two women surrounded by snow contributes to a tone of “peace.” Piney Woods and the Duchess look so peaceful and innocent lying close together in the snow that the townspeople “could scarcely tell” them apart. This final peaceful image of the death supports the notion that our morality is not easily measured by our life choices.

Piney Woods and the Duchess are both good people, and their position in death reminds both the townspeople and the reader of this. Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “relaxing into amiability.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The group that was so divided before is now more “amicable” and “relaxed” with the addition of Tom Simson and Piney Woods.

  1. This introduces an important theme for the story: strangers with drastically differing realities can come together and discover similarities.
  2. The “moral” and the “immoral” people are not all that different after all.
  3. Thus, while Piney and Tom are conventionally deemed “acceptable” townspeople, there is good in many of the other characters, which we are just starting to see.

Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “reimbursing themselves from his pockets of the sums he had won from them.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) While Mr. Oakhurst was a gambler, he suggests that it is not the reason that the townspeople wanted to exile him.

  • Instead, he says that they probably wanted him out of town to get revenge for his winning their money during a game.
  • This introduces the theme of the hypocrisy of those in power.
  • The members of the committee hold themselves up to be the highest authority of morality in the town, ultimately deciding who is allowed to stay or go, but their decisions are motivated by biases and vindictiveness.

Readers are encouraged to question who the real “moral” people are—if any. Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “improper persons.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The word “improper” is used here to describe those that the “secret committee” deem “immoral” in some way.

  1. Note that the term “improper” does not necessarily describe someone who has committed crimes or offenses—but rather, someone that is “unfit” for this town.
  2. Thus, it is a value-judgement and not based upon law.
  3. The “change in moral atmosphere” has provoked this committee to exile citizens, but we are led to question how they decide and whether or not they should have the authority to do so.

Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “Poker Flat was “after somebody.” It had lately suffered the loss of several thousand dollars, two valuable horses, and a prominent citizen.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The town had experienced several significant “losses” of varying kinds.
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What is the outcast of poker flats about?

The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1937) – IMDb

1937 Passed 1h 7m

A California mining camp is plagued by a series of murders. Four people come under suspicion for the killings and are swiftly run straight out of the camp. During a blizzard they take refuge. A California mining camp is plagued by a series of murders.

Four people come under suspicion for the killings and are swiftly run straight out of the camp. During a blizzard they take refuge in an isolated cabin, and conflicts break out among them. A California mining camp is plagued by a series of murders. Four people come under suspicion for the killings and are swiftly run straight out of the camp.

During a blizzard they take refuge in an isolated cabin, and conflicts break out among them. Only watch this if you want to see a Young Van Heflin! I caught this on TCM the other night, it’s short so it doesn’t bore you too much I suppose. It’s just an average flick. Nothing great, nothing awful, but it lags quite a bit for a film that isn’t much more than an hour in length.

  1. Preston Foster isn’t that great of an actor, so when he has the lead role in a film you find yourself getting a bit bored, Jean Muir didn’t impress me much either for someone that was supposed to be such a great stage actress.
  2. Maybe she was better suited to the stage than to the screen.
  3. I found her dull too.

The only high points of this film were Virginia Weidler and Van Heflin. So if you are dying to see Van when he was young and cute, check it out.

Sep 12, 2002

Discover the stars who skyrocketed on IMDb’s STARmeter chart this year, and explore more of the Best of 2022; including top trailers, posters, and photos. Suggest an edit or add missing content What is the English language plot outline for The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1937)? You have no recently viewed pages : The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1937) – IMDb
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Why are the outcasts thrown out of Poker Flat?

Plot summary – The story takes place in a Californian community known as Poker Flat, near the town of, Following the loss of several thousand dollars and two horses, and the death of a notable resident, the town has formed a secret committee to rid itself of any “improper” people, hanging two and banishing others.

On November 23, 1850, four such individuals are exiled from Poker Flat and warned not to return on pain of death. The first of them is a professional poker player, John Oakhurst, who has won large amounts from those on the secret committee. On his way out of town, he is joined by two women, the Duchess and Mother Shipton, and Uncle Billy, the town drunk and a suspected robber.

These four set out for the Sandy Bar mining camp, a away over a mountain range. At noon, over Oakhurst’s protests, the group stops for a rest. While on their rest, the group is met by a pair of runaway lovers on their way to Poker Flat to get married, Tom Simson (known also as “The Innocent”) and 15-year-old Piney Woods.

  • Simson has met Oakhurst before and has great admiration for him, as Oakhurst won a great deal of money from Simson.
  • Oakhurst had returned the money and urged Simson to quit gambling, as he was a terrible player.
  • Nonetheless, Simson is thrilled to have come upon Oakhurst on this day and decides that he and Piney will stay with the group for a while.

They are unaware of the group’s status as exiles, and Simson assumes that the Duchess is Oakhurst’s wife, to the amusement of Uncle Billy. A decision is made for everyone to stay the night together, and the group takes shelter in a half-built cabin Simson has discovered.

  • In the middle of the night, Oakhurst wakes up and sees a heavy snowstorm raging.
  • Looking about, he realizes that Uncle Billy has fled with the group’s horses and mules.
  • They are all now forced to wait out the storm with provisions that will likely only last for another 10 days.
  • After a week in the cabin, Mother Shipton dies, having secretly and starved herself in order to give her rations to Piney.

Oakhurst fashions some snowshoes for Simson to use in traveling to Poker Flat for help, telling the others he will accompany the young man part of the way. The “law of Poker Flat” finally arrives at the cabin, only to find the Duchess and Piney frozen to death and embracing in a peaceful repose.
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Who is the innocent in Poker Flat?

The Outcasts of Poker Flat – 🔒 9 “You’ve starved yourself.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) Mother Shipton’s act of selflessness contributes to the theme that the boundary between “moral” and “immoral” is not black and white, nor very easily defined.

  • In the beginning of the story, Mother Shipton is described from the eyes of the townspeople: she is a prostitute that they look down on—worthy only of being cast out.
  • Mother Shipton has her guard up once she is exiled, but gradually she begins to let it down, eventually placing the needs of others above her own.

Harte paints the “moral” and the “immoral” as a kind of spectrum and all the characters fall at different places on that spectrum throughout the story. Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “He dropped a warning to the Duchess and Mother Shipton, who of course knew the facts of their associate’s defection.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The narrator states that the Duchess and Mother Shipton are aware of “Uncle Billy’s rascality” in a way that Tom Simson and Piney Woods are not.

  • Mr. Oakhurst has kept the truth from Tom and Piney due to “some occult,” or mysterious, reason.
  • However, as Mr.
  • Oakhurst seems to be notorious for attempting to preserve innocence (recall his protectiveness of Tom Simson when he lost his gambling match), we might view Mr.
  • Oakhurst’s omission as another one of these attempts.

Mr. Oakhurst seems to be trying to shield Tom Simson from the dishonorable Uncle Billy. Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “Temperance House.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The term “temperance” means abstinence from drinking alcohol.

  1. A “temperance house,” also known as a “temperance tavern,” was a type of bar that did not serve alcohol or asked customers to sign an oath stating that they would drink in moderation or abstain completely while inside.
  2. Piney Woods used to work in a temperance house—an occupation traditionally held in higher “moral” esteem than some of the occupations of her present company.
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Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “Piney Woods.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) Piney Woods is another conventionally “innocent” or “good” character and is referred to by her real name rather than a nickname. Because we are given Piney’s real name before we learn much about her, we are led to assume that she might be different from the group of exiles.

Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “made a devoted slave of Tom Simson.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) The mention of gambling here draws an immediate comparison to Tom Simson and Mr. Oakhurst. However, note that Tom Simson is depicted as someone who could not even gamble if he wanted to.

Though this lack of experience in gambling might make Tom seem even more “innocent” or “moral” than Mr. Oakhurst, the narrator reminds us of Mr. Oakhurst’s benevolence when Mr. Oakhurst gives Tom Simson all the money that he lost. Tom Simson is innocent, but Mr.

  • Oakhurst does not take advantage of this.
  • Comparing these two characters reinforces Mr.
  • Oakhurst’s ethical nature.
  • Ayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “the “Innocent”,” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) Tom Simson is referred to by his nickname, the “Innocent,” like all of the “expatriates” except Mr.

Oakhurst. However, we are still given his birth name. Furthermore, while the nicknames of the “outcasts” have either neutral or negative connotations, Tom Simson’s nickname is generally considered positive and reminds us that he is not a part of the banished group.

Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “The thought of deserting his weaker and more pitiable companions never perhaps occurred to him.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) Mr. Oakhurst sets himself apart from his “companions” in many ways. They are “loud,” “weak,” “pitiable,” and drinking liquor when they should be making better use of their time and rations.

Mr. Oakhurst is “calm,” strong, sober and resolute. This contrast portrays Mr. Oakhurst as a kind of exception to the rule. While he was exiled, he is still portrayed as more virtuous and ethical than his companions. Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “anathema.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) An “anathema” is a person or thing that is hated or loathed.

  1. While the narrator states that Uncle Billy was the one that “included the whole party in one sweeping anathema,” Mother Shipton also eyes Mr.
  2. Oakhurst with “malevolence.” Note that Mr.
  3. Oakhurst’s kind actions failed to “draw the party into any closer sympathy.” This group of individuals are very divided, either hateful or fearful of one another despite being victims of the same unfortunate circumstance.

Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff Subscribe to unlock » “philosophic calmness.” See in text (The Outcasts of Poker Flat) Mr. Oakhurst is characterized as “calm,” “quiet,” and “philosophic” many times throughout the story. He accepts his “sentence” in this calm manner, defying our expectations of what an “improper” person might behave like in this circumstance.
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What happens at the end of The Outcasts of Poker Flat?

LitCharts On the morning of November 23, 1850, a gambler named John Oakhurst walks through Poker Flat, a small mining town in the American West. The town’s “moral atmosphere” has changed, and Oakhurst knows that the town is “after somebody.” He reflects calmly that he’s probably the one the town is after—a suspicion that soon proves correct.

Poker Flat has suffered a major blow to its reputation and sense of stability. It has recently lost an important resident, a large fortune, and two horses, catalyzing a “spasm of virtuous reaction.” In an effort to salvage the town’s reputation and reinstate a sense of normalcy, a group of powerful Poker Flat residents form a secret committee that decides who stays and who goes, whether by hanging (a fate to which two men have already been sentenced) or by exile.

Oakhurst is faced with the latter punishment. Several men on the committee have lost money to Oakhurst, and they are irate. In order to reimburse themselves, they call for Oakhurst to be hanged, but the committee members who have managed to win money from Oakhurst suggest that he merely be banished.

  1. On the day of his exile, Oakhurst finds himself in the company of three other “improper persons”: two prostitutes who go by the names Mother Shipton and the Duchess, as well as a drunkard and suspected thief called Uncle Billy,
  2. Though his companions cry and curse, Oakhurst is remarkably calm and unruffled as the outcasts are marched out of the settlement and sent towards the mountains.

Although Sandy Bar is the next closest settlement, it’s on the other side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, making it one long, intense travel day away. Soon, the Duchess declares that she will go no further and insists they set up camp. Oakhurst knows that camping is a bad idea—they don’t have food or supplies to sustain their journey.

  • Even though he tries to make this clear, his companions don’t listen and immediately take to drinking.
  • As he doesn’t drink (it clashes with his profession as a gambler, which requires him to always have clear senses and sharp decision-making skills) Oakhurst remains on the fringes, watching the group quietly.

Soon, a young man named Tom “The Innocent” Simson, a resident of Sandy Bar, rides down the trail. He and Oakhurst are well acquainted, as Oakhurst won a large fortune from Tom a few months ago but sympathetically returned it to the young man with a stern warning to never gamble again.

Tom is thrilled to see Oakhurst and excitedly introduces his fiancée, Piney Woods, to the group. The pair are headed to Poker Flat to elope. Oakhurst tries to convince the newcomers not to linger, but Tom cheerfully offers to share his rations and mentions that they can camp at a crudely constructed log cabin that he saw down the path.

The group takes Tom up on his offer and makes camp. In the morning, Oakhurst awakens to freshly fallen snow and hurriedly prepares to wake the group so that they can beat the impending storm. However, he quickly realizes that Uncle Billy is missing, and that the group’s mules have disappeared.

Oakhurst lies to Piney and Tom that Uncle Billy left to find more food, and the animals accidentally stampeded, though Mother Shipton and the Duchess sense what really happened. Tom is still cheerful as ever, and over the next few days he leads the group in camp songs and storytelling. Soon, the snowfall accumulates to 20 feet, and the group struggles to find wood to keep up their fires.

Mother Shipton begins to fade rapidly, and on the 10th day, she pulls Oakhurst aside and privately tells him that she’s been starving herself, saving her rations so that Piney can live a little longer. She dies quietly, and the group turns somber. Oakhurst gives Tom a pair of homemade snowshoes, urging him to make it to Poker Flat, though his chances of saving Piney are slim.

Although Oakhurst says he’ll accompany Tom only as far as the canyon, he doesn’t return to camp. The Duchess and Piney cling to one another for warmth, but eventually fall asleep and die of exposure. Days later, “pitying fingers” dust the snow off of their faces. In death, it’s impossible to tell the women apart, as they both carry a look of “equal peace.” Even the residents of Poker Flat recognize this, so they leave the women locked in a tender embrace.

Deeper into the woods, the rescuers stumble upon Oakhurst’s body. Pinned to a tree with a knife is a playing card, the deuce of clubs, upon which Oakhurst has scribbled his epitaph, claiming to have “struck a streak of bad luck.” Oakhurst, who shot himself in the heart, appears just as stoic in death as he did in life.
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What is the conflict in the Outcast of Poker Flat?

In contrast to romanticism, realism writings of the 1800s showed society as it really was. Two authors, Brett Harte who wrote “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” and Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” both expressed the idea that people need people. These authors relayed this societal message through external and internal conflict.

The societal message that people need people was expressed through external conflict in Brett Harte’s “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”. The external conflict was expressed by how in the beginning of the story Mr. Oakhurst, the Duchess, Mother Shipton, and Uncle Billy were basically kicked out of Poker Flat and during the time of being kicked out of town they ended up meeting Piney, Tom, and the Innocent.

Towards the end they all ended up in the mountains in what seemed to be winter in an old ruined cabin with low provisions because most of their provisions were stolen by Uncle Billy. show more content The internal conflict was expressed more so in the midst of the story when the main character started his hike up to camp to find the boys and he realized it was a lot colder than he thought,

During this time he remembered the old man from Sulphur Creek who told him about the weather previously before and that he shouldn’t go alone. The internal conflict came at an climax when the man realized he could freeze to death since he was not able to start a fire and his method of beating his hands to spark a feeling of sensation didn’t work.

He was at anger with himself when he realized he was at fault with this predicament he was in, and coming to an end he accept his fate of death and died lying in the snow. This story relates to the societal message that people need people, if the main character would have just had someone with him he could of survived and would’ve made it back to camp, but he decided to go alone and being alone is what ended his
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Why did Uncle Billy get kicked out of Poker Flat?

The chief antagonist of the story, Uncle Billy is a drunk and a suspected thief (he is believed to steal gold while other people are panning for it) who is exiled from Poker Flat along with Oakhurst, the Duchess, and Mother Shipton, Although he’s only suspected of being a thief, his actions in the story prove that he’s deserving of this reputation.

  • On their first night in the mountains, while the group is still treating their journey like a merry camping trip, Uncle Billy drinks heavily with the others.
  • However, an idea “of a jocular nature” comes to him, and he’s so delighted by it that he slaps his leg merrily and bites his fist in excitement: he is going to steal the group’s mules, who are tied up near where the group has stopped to camp.

By morning, Uncle Billy is gone and the mules are nowhere to be found. The story never reveals what happened to Uncle Billy—whether he made it to the next town over or died in the pursuit—but he is nonetheless spared the long, agonizing death that the rest of the outcasts (plus Tom and Piney ) are forced to endure.

  1. Uncle Billy’s theft is significant not just because it confirms his status as a thief, but also because it goes beyond his reputation as a suspected petty thief—in stealing the group’s mules, he has stranded his companions and effectively sentenced them to death.
  2. What’s worse, in the hours leading up to his escape, Uncle Billy seems positively giddy about his plan, as if stealing the group’s sole source of transportation is an impish, playful trick rather than a malevolent and fatal one.
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Thus, while all of the other outcasts prove themselves more morally complex than first meets the eye—thus suggesting they weren’t necessarily deserving of being demonized in Poker Flat—Uncle Billy remains nothing more than a villain.
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What is the significance of the deuce of clubs to Oakhurst?

LitCharts Before committing suicide, John Oakhurst writes his epitaph on a playing card, the deuce of clubs, which symbolizes Oakhurst’s understanding that life is a game of luck. Oakhurst’s epitaph, which he pins on a tree, reads, “Beneath this tree lies the body of John Oakhurst, who struck a streak of bad luck on the 23d of November, 1850, and handed in his checks on the 7th December, 1850.” It’s significant that Oakhurst chooses a deuce of clubs as his makeshift tombstone and the vessel for this message, as the club strongly resembles a three-leaf clover, solidifying its association with luck.

As a serial gambler who appears to carry a pack of playing cards around with him everywhere, Oakhurst views the world through the lens of chance. However, this sometimes makes Oakhurst seem weak and submissive, letting events passively happen to him. When he is exiled from Poker Flat, he takes the news stoically, as “He was too much of a gambler not to accept Fate.

With him life was at best an uncertain game, and he recognized the usual percentage in favor of the dealer.” In his mind, life depends on the luck of the draw—he can’t control which cards he’ll be dealt, so he accepts everything that comes his way with remarkable calmness.

  1. However, Oakhurst’s worldview, as symbolized by the deuce of clubs, also suggests that life is a game of choice that requires active participation in addition to calm acceptance.
  2. When the other outcasts want to stop and make camp prematurely, Oakhurst does his best to dissuade them: “But Mr.
  3. Oakhurst knew that scarcely half the journey to Sandy Bar was accomplished, and the party were not equipped or provisioned for delay.

This fact he pointed out to his companions curtly, with a philosophic commentary on the folly of ‘throwing up their hand before the game was played out.'” With this, it’s clear that Oakhurst isn’t entirely passive. He uses his sharp decision-making skills to discern the next best course of action—carrying on rather than stopping to camp—but this time, it’s his companions that prevent him from taking action.

However, by the end of the story, it seems that Oakhurst does “throw up hand before the game was played out” by tacking his “hand”—the deuce of clubs—to the tree and committing suicide under it. Rather than trying to make it back to town with Tom, Oakhurst resigns himself to death “before the game played out,” raising the question of whether or not he fought hard enough against his unlucky circumstances.

: LitCharts
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Why is Oakhurst the weakest and the strongest of the outcasts?

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda Updated: Nov 21st, 2021 John Oakhurst is one of the brightest characters depicted in “The Outcast of Poker Flat”. The novel is about four protagonists who were exiled by the townspeople because of their immoral behavior and habits.

  1. Having been declared the refuse of the society, John, the drunkard Uncle Billy, and two prostitutes were forced to search for a better life.
  2. I was attracted by the description of Mr.
  3. Oakhurst, a gambler whose life was like a game, on the one hand, and a person who was able to overcome difficulties and accomplish courageous deeds, on the other hand.

John Oakhurst was always in control of his own life so that he never believed in fate. His calmness and courage made me reconsider his actual moral values. The story justifies that he was rather a brave person who was not afraid to face the reality of being too much of a gambler to accept it.

John considered his life like a game that divided people into leaders and losers. This is proved by many details described in the story. Thus, he revealed his audacity when he together with the travelers was trapped in the show storm. Being in a critical situation, he was the first who tried to calm down and cheer up the others.

If to consider this character more properly, I could not but accept that John can be also regarded as the embodiment of nobility and modesty. These phenomenal traits were revealed in many situations that he successfully overcame. His sympathy with Mother Shipton and other outcasts was the brightest testimony of his goodness.

Hence, irrespective of the townspeople’s prejudiced outlook about morality, he might be regarded as an ideal image of the actual leader who was always in control of the situation. To add to his noble features, Mr. Oakhurst did not drink, since the presence of mind and his impassionate character did not afford him to do that.

His moderate character is not typical of a gambler who got accustomed to risky situations. That is why, I feel that John Oakhurst was a complex person who, like all people, had both the very vices and cardinal virtues. In addition, he was reluctant in showing his sentiments in public, which, I believe, is the quality of a real gentleman but not of a card shark.

Further, John may be also regarded as a person of strong character. Being a gambler, he has a wild card character since he was empowered to control his own destiny and the destinies of others. Thus, his decision to save Penny was a kind of a calling of his fate. The strength of his character did not allow him to reveal his feelings otherwise, it would mean a disaster for him.

Therefore, he committed suicide since he had no other way out. To show his weakness and his inability to monitor his life was unacceptable. At first sight, the death might also constitute his incapability to show that there were events that were beyond his power.

  1. However, I feel that he died because of pride and of unwillingness to recognize that he “struck a streak of bad luck”.
  2. Therefore, on the one hand, Mr.
  3. Oakhurst may be considered as the strongest and weakest character at the same time.
  4. The story ends with a symbolic phrase that characterized his major human qualities: And pulseless and cold, with a Derringer by his side and a bullet in his heart, though still calm as in life, beneath the snow, lay he who was at once the strongest and yet the weakest of the outcast of Poker face.

(Harte, 44). He was the strongest one because he decided to sacrifice himself for the sake of others and the weakest one since he shot himself instead of waiting for other arrivals to come. The story, in which John was doomed to be the refusal of the society, testifies that the townspeople lost a veritable notion about cardinal virtues and formed their attitudes relying on their first impressions.

  • In this respect, the author intends to prove to their readers that appearances are deceptive.
  • Considering Oakhurst and another outcast the “improper persons” proves that their morality left much to be desired.
  • So, John was the only one who was aware of the change of the moral atmosphere in Poker flat.

I believe that his death was a kind of protest against its narrow local prejudice. Moreover, the fact of escape differentiated the travelers from the ordinary and primitive townspeople who were subjected to predictability and stereotypes. Based on the above, I can judge, that Mr.
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What kind of character is John Oakhurst?

The protagonist of the story, John Oakhurst is a serial gambler who is exiled from the Old West settlement of Poker Flat along with three other people whom the town has deemed “improper”: the Duchess, Mother Shipton, and Uncle Billy, While the other members of the group are exiled for their immorality, Oakhurst’s sentence is a little more complicated.

The committee that decides who stays and who goes is far from impartial, as many men on it have lost money to Oakhurst. These men, including Jim Wheeler, go so far as to suggest Oakhurst be hanged (knowing that they will be able to reclaim their money this way), while those who have managed to win money playing against Oakhurst suggest he just be banished instead.

John Oakhurst is the strong, silent type, always unruffled in times of trouble. So when he is exiled to the next town over—forced to make the dangerous journey through the mountains to get there—he barely even blinks. And when things continue to go wrong (like when Uncle Billy runs off with the group’s mules, and a snowstorm prevents the group from making the rest of the journey on foot), Oakhurst continues to carry himself with “philosophic calmness.” Although “He too much of a gambler not to accept Fate,” he does show some care for his own well-being as well as that of his companions.

  • When two innocent people fall in with the group— Tom and his fiancée, Piney —Oakhurst urges them not to linger with the outcasts, who have unwisely decided to make camp despite having very little rations.
  • Later, when everyone is close to death, Oakhurst fashions a pair of snowshoes and sends Tom into town to get help.

However, at the end of the story, Oakhurst commits suicide, raising the question of whether his unwavering calm stemmed from near-total apathy or quiet strength, and if he should have tried harder to survive. Oakhurst is originally from a settlement called Roaring Camp—which comes from one of Harte’s best-known short stories, “The Luck of Roaring Camp.”
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What happens to Oakhurst?

Oakhurst take in the last part of the story? Piney and Duchess frozen to death. Mr. Oakhurst shot himself.
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What happens to Mother Shipton and why is this ironic?

Try It – Read the questions about Harte’s short story “The outcasts of Poker Flat” and choose the best answer.1.) How does the setting affect the story “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”? Answer: Poker Flat is a town that is losing its money because of certain individuals.
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What kind of character was Mother Shipton?

Like the Duchess, Mother Shipton is a prostitute who is exiled from Poker Flat along with Oakhurst and Uncle Billy, She is a crude woman with a vocabulary to match, and she often laments her circumstances with long strings of curse words. Also like the Duchess, her real name is never revealed in the story, though the narrator mentions that she “won the title of ‘Mother Shipton,'” who was a famous 15th-century prophetess.

  • Although the historical Mother Shipton’s predictions were regional and small-scale ones, she soon became a figure of legend, rumored to have made grand, sweeping predictions like the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world.
  • In time, Mother Shipton’s name became closely associated with mysterious and tragic events that cropped up in North America, the UK, and Australia up until the 19th century.
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That Harte’s Mother Shipton “won” this nickname suggests that she, too, has the penchant for foreseeing future tragedies. In the story, when she sees a curl of smoke in the sky coming from the direction of Poker Flat, she screams bitter curses in its direction, seemingly more aware than some of her companions that they are going to die in the mountains.

Despite her sharp tongue, Mother Shipton is tender and loving toward Piney, whom she calls “the child,” and does everything she can to entertain the young woman. As the group’s circumstances grow increasingly bleak, Mother Shipton begins starving herself, secretly tucking away her rations. On the 10th day in the mountains, moments away from death, she quietly tells Oakhurst to give her rations to Piney so that the girl can live a little bit longer.

Despite her stained reputation as a prostitute and her abrasive vocabulary, Mother Shipton is also compassionate, generous, and self-sacrificial, suggesting that she wasn’t so immoral after all.
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How is John Oakhurst a hero?

John Oakhurst Character Analysis Not many men would stand by strangers in a life or death situation, but that is just the type of man John Oakhurst is in “The Outcasts of Poker Flats” written by Bret Harte. Although his character is a professional gambler, Oakhurst carries a soft spot for his fellow exiles.

  1. He could just walk away, and save himself.
  2. He not only cares about their well-being; he acts as a leader for the outcasts.
  3. Without John the group would not have a chance at surviving.
  4. Harte writes, “The thought of deserting his weaker and more pitiable companions never perhaps occurred to him” (Harte) John Oakhurst is a man of honor and courage, no matter his profession.

Having spent many years as a gambler, the reader is initially led to believe John Oakhurst is a cold man. Oakhurst also describes this of himself while he is considering his lack of alcohol consumption, and the author writes, “It interfered with a profession which required coolness, impassiveness, and presence of mind” (Harte).

The reader infers from this that he holds show more content He takes the lead naturally, and begins considering their options positively, after Uncle Billy raids and abandons them. Oakhurst, choosing not to tell the two kids of what Uncle Billy has done exhibits his gentleness even further. Without the mules it is plain that the group would have no idea on what to do, if it isn’t for John.

The orator states, “For some occult reason, Mr. Oakhurst could not bring himself to disclose Uncle Billy’s rascality, and so offered the hypothesis that he had wandered from the camp and had accidentally stampeded the animals.” (Harte) With the children thinking that help is on the way, Oakhurst and his two adult companions take on a heavy weight of guilt.
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What happens to Tom Poker Flat?

Nicknamed “The Innocent,” Tom is Piney ‘s fiancé and an acquaintance of Oakhurst ‘s. He is a young man from the next town over—Sandy Bar, where the outcasts are headed—and is making the journey to Poker Flat to elope with Piney and begin a new life. Months ago, he played a “little game” with Oakhurst and lost a fortune (about $40 in 1850, which would be over $1,200 in 2019’s currency) to the man.

After, Oakhurst kindly advised Tom to never gamble again and gave him back his money. Because of this incident, Tom is delighted to run into Oakhurst in the mountains. While Oakhurst is strong and silent, Tom is boyish, giggly, and naïve. He excitedly tells the group that he and Piney are eloping because her father, Jake Woods, doesn’t approve of their engagement, framing their situation as one big, exiting adventure.

Likewise, Tom is enthusiastic about spending the night with the group and treats their situation like a camping trip among friends rather than a fight for survival among strangers. Thus, when Oakhurst tries to persuade him to not delay his journey as the group doesn’t have food or shelter, Tom won’t listen, exclaiming that he and Piney have plenty of rations to share and that he saw a clumsily built log cabin nearby where they can stay.

  • However, Tom’s blind optimism quickly leads to his downfall, as the next morning the group finds themselves stranded and snowed in.
  • On the group’s 10th day in the mountains, Oakhurst fashions a pair of homemade snowshoes from a saddle, urging Tom to try to make it to Poker Flat, even though there’s only “one chance in a hundred” that he’ll be able to make it there and return with help to save Piney.

The story implies that Tom is successful in reaching Poker Flat—even though the rest of the group dies, they are found days when “voices and footsteps” enter the camp, presumably a search party. After his experience in the mountains and the death of his beloved fiancée, it seems that Tom is no longer innocent.
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What is Waverly’s internal conflict?

Waverly sees herself as the fish, stripped clean by her mother ‘s power, unable to break free. Through the major conflict, the characters struggle to keep their relationship healthy and loving.
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What is conflict the problem who or what carries out the actions of a story the events in a story the lesson learned?

Conflict is the dramatic struggle between two forces in a story. Without conflict, there is no plot. Conflict is a problem that must be solved; an issue between the protagonist and antagonist forces. It forms the basis of the plot.
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What is the theme of outcast?

One of the most important words that Father Gregory Boyle uses in Tattoos on the Heart is “outcast.” Boyle uses this word to describe most of the people who attend his church in the Dolores Mission, as well as the people whom his nonprofit, Homeboy Industries, employs.

  • He doesn’t use the word in a prejudicial sense—rather, he’s just stating a fact: the majority of society has rejected these people, refusing to give them employment, friendship, or respect.
  • Over the course of the book, Boyle unpacks the word “outcast” and uses it to make his own compelling points about how all people deserve to be treated.

From the beginning, Boyle makes it clear that being an outcast is nothing to be ashamed of. Just because society has cast a person out doesn’t mean that that person is worthless. To emphasize this point, Boyle frequently alludes to Jesus Christ and the fact that he spent his time with the poor, the downtrodden, and the sinful.

  1. Since being an outcast doesn’t negate one’s humanity, Boyle asks readers to recognize that outcasts are worthy of respect and compassion—even if most people don’t feel any kinship with them.
  2. Boyle lists dozens—even hundreds—of examples of supposedly worthless people who committed serious crimes, went to prison, but later went on to live happy lives structured around good, moral behavior.

Boyle therefore opens his church’s doors to anyone who’d like to attend, even gang members. This action offends and frightens many of Boyle’s congregants. However, Boyle reminds these congregants of the strong Christian precedent for embracing outcasts, no matter how frightening.

Ultimately, the outcast’s shunned status says more about society at large than about the outcast. Too often, people don’t have the training or the courage to extend their kinship to strangers. As a result, they turn their backs on certain kinds of people, such as ex-convicts, who need their help. Boyle includes many anecdotes about people who say offhanded, offensive things about social outcasts.

For example, he remembers a nurse who calls a murdered gang member a “monster.” However, this anecdote also underscores Boyle’s most important point: even if people sometimes cast others out, they have the potential to extend their kinship to everyone.

The nurse in Boyle’s story is immediately reprimanded by a second nurse, who reminds her coworker that this dead gang member has a mother and a family, and he deserves her respect. It is this second nurse who upholds Boyle’s point about the universal capacity for kinship. Even if they treat certain kinds of people as outcasts, people instinctively want to be good and kind.

By treating outcasts with kindness, Boyle hopes to change his society and set an example that the rest of Los Angeles will one day follow.
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How does The Outcasts of Poker Flat represent realism?

Realism is literature that represents actual life, the author Bret Harte tries to stay as close to the truth as possible when writing. Authors like him write truthfully and objectively about ordinary characters and their ordinary situations. In Harte’s “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” he represents realism through archetypes and local colour.

The short story is set in 1850 in a California mining town during the Gold Rush. It’s about a group of outcasts getting kicked out of town and banished never to return, Harte provides a realistic depiction of the Old West through these events the characters experience. Bret Harte’s literature represents realism because he was part of the movement.

He is especially famous for his portrayal of the Old West because he actually lived in California during the time of the Gold Rush. He wrote about people he was actually familiar with which is show more content Allusion is reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work or piece of art; it’s used to help clarify and emphasise certain ideas.

For example, “He now proposed to narrate the principal incidents of that poem And so for the rest of that night the Homeric demigods again walked the earth”. The Iliad is a heroic poem originally written by Homer around 8th century BC, it’s the story of the Trojan war and the weakness of Achilles’ heel.

This was used among the group of characters to pass the time and take their minds off the lack of food and weather conditions. Even though, the Iliad was just a story to them, it was used by Harte to emphasise the idea of a weakness, causing a sense of foreshadowing for the reader.
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What has this text taught you about outsiders and outcasts?

What has the story taught you about outsiders and outcasts? As long as they have one close person, people can survive as outcasts. Also social classes and wealth can create outcasts.
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What is ironic about the title The Outcasts of Poker Flat?

-It is ironic that the town of Poker Flat believes it is purging the town of evil by hypocritically banishing people, itself an ultimately nefarious act.
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