The Outcasts Of Poker Flat Analysis

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In the story, “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” by Bret Harte, four of the town’s ‘undesirables’ are banished from Poker Flat so they set off to go to Sandy Bar. On the way there, they meet two newly weds who help them by letting them take shelter in a cabin. However, they wake up to find that one of them in the group, Uncle Billy, has taken the horses and went out on his own so now the rest of them are stuck in the cabin after a snow storm. John Oakhurst takes the role of the leader in the group and comes off as a cool and collected person, but at the end of the story, he ends up committing suicide. In this story, John Oakhurst (the gambler) plays the role of the strongest character when he is, in reality, the weakest. One reason we would be fooled to believe that John Oakhurst it the strongest amongst the group of outcasts, is that he is able to roll with the punches while still keeping his cool. For example, when John Oakhurst receives his sentence,…show more content…
For example, when the gambler sends Tommy off with the snow shoes, he agrees to go part of the way with him and then return to the group. However, time passes and John Oakhurst does not return. Both Piney and the Dutchess end up dying in the camp while waiting for the return of John. The narrator then reveals that John Oakhurst has in fact taken his own life. “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 outcasts of Poker Flat” (paragraph 36). This shows that the acts of courage John Oakhurst demonstrates are indeed only acts. He puts on a mask of strength in attempts to not worry the other members of the group. Even though he was giving hope to the others, he himself had already given up. When he is finally alone, he takes the opportunity to kill his suffering by killing
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