Books and Movies Reviews

The outcasts of poker flats quick to judge

"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is a great example of what life was like during the rough and tumble days of the California Gold Rush.
The author Bret Harte tells the story of a town known as Poker Flat wishing to improve itself by removing the undesirables from it. The story begins by learning of the group of people chosen to be outcast into the world and to fend for themselves during a harsh winter season. After they have been exiled and are outside the city walls, most of the group can not handle the situation presented before them
The four people labeled by the secret town committee as "improper persons" (414) and forever banished from the town are: Uncle Billy, a thief and the town drunkard, Duchess, a local prostitute, Mother Shipton, another prostitute, and the extremely, over successful gambler Mr. John Oakhurst.
As the outcast's heavily armed escort heads back to Poker Flat, the reader soon begins to realize who the leader of the group is. "As the escort disappeared, their pent-up feelings found vent in a few hysterical tears from the Duchess, some bad language from Mother Shipton, and a Perthian volley of expletives from Uncle Billy. The philosophic Oakhurst alone remained silent"(414). As for the rest of his company, they can't believe they've just been left alone to take care of themselves, and can not handle the pressure and therefore explicitly express their distaste for their situation.
Oakhurst, however, "with the easy good humor characteristic of his class" (415), chivalrously gives his own horse "Five Spot" (415) for the sorry mule that Duchess rode. This example of Oakhurst's leadership and kindness is just one of many instances in which the author portrays John Oakhurst as the strongest of all the characters. Oakhurst, being the extremely talented poker player, maintains his poker face even in the face despair. As the story pro


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