Bret Harte's The Outcasts Of Poker Flat

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Francis “Bret” Harte’s wild-western short story The Outcasts of Poker Flat focuses on a man named John Oakhurst. Taking place in California in the 1850s, residents resorted to gambling as a way of life. Oakhurst was a successful gambler and poker player who always won money from the residents of Poker Flat. A committee was secretly created with the purpose of casting out immoral people. Because of Oakhurst’s various successes as a gambler, he had taken the money of many people in the town some of which were members of the secret committee. The committee banished a group of four people which included Duchess, Uncle Billy, Mother Shipton, and John Oakhurst. The four set out together on route to a nearby town. Whilst on the way, John Oakhurst met a young couple who were going to Poker Flat to get married. Oakhurst knew the young man from before and had won money from him. The couple decided to stay with the group for a few days and took them to a nearby cabin they had found. They had spent the night and it had started to snow. Without notice, Uncle Billy had taken off with the mules and horses…show more content…
One of these themes is the idea of fate and chance. One example of fate and chance is whenever John Oakhurst, The Duchess, and Mother Shipton decide to go along with Uncle Billy. They know that he is a “suspected sluice-robber and confirmed drunkard” (Harte par. 6). Unfortunately, their luck had run out and Uncle Billy had turned out to be just how they had suspected when he ran off with the horses in the middle of the first night (par. 19). An example is whenever John Oakhurst gave up his snow-shoes so he can stay behind and protect the girls. He knew that he was going to die and accepted it so he wanted to comfort and stay with the ones he loved instead of running off for his own benefit (pars. 27-29). Fate and chance is just one of the many themes that Bret Harte expressed throughout his
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