Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte Review

The story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" by Bret Harte represented the Wild West. The characters of the story are the gambler, fallen ladies and the local drunk. They were exiled from the town Poker Flat, and they met their fate together.

Bret Harte dedicated his most famous stories to the time of California Gold Rush. However this story is not about the desire of being rich, this story is about the best qualities of the people who faced their fates.
The main character, Mr. Oakhurst, who earned a living by playing poker, received this sentence too. He perceived it with a philosophic calmness. As the author said, "He was too much of a gambler not to accept Fate."

The outcasts left the town. They could die or they could survive. They set a camp in the mountains. The local drunk and a suspected robber, Uncle Billy had gone with the group's mules and the horses were stolen. The group was met by Tom Simpson, known also as "the innocent" with his young girl. They were on the way to Poker Flat to get married. Once Mr. Oakhurst won a great deal of money playing with Tom and he returned the money advising Tom that the latter should never play poker again, as he was a terrible player.

The outcasts displayed their best qualities helping each other and sacrificed themselves. This narration is without a happy ending, the main characters died. This story as other works of Bret Harte represented a genre of naturalism. He described California during the first half of the nineteenth century. Harte's colorful writing helped shape the Western genre as a part of American literature.

This is a link to the text of the story:

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