Outcasts Of Poker Flats

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Redemption Just Out of Reach In Bret Harte’s “The Outcasts of Poker Flat,” we find many characters being banned from a city due to the townspeople’s opinion of them. The people of Poker Flat have been gambling and dealing with prostitution. In order to cover their actions, they reverse the blame onto the new people of the town. Of these outcasts, John Oakhurst, Mother Shipton, and Duchess all show redemptive qualities after being run out of town. John Oakhurst takes the leading position of the group of outcasts on their trek out of Poker Flat. When the others want to stop for rest, he urges them to continue their long journey. Oakhurst’s gambling being the reason he was banned from Poker Flat, he warns his fellow outcasts of, “throwing up their hand before the game was played out” (485) since heavy snow is expected on their route to the next town. His motivational attitude helps him and the others cope with their difficult situation. Oakhurst also serves as a paternal figure to Tom “The Innocent” throughout the story, which he had beaten in poker before and returned his winnings. While camping out along the trail, John and Tom take shifts of keeping watch of the camp, and John deliberately “takes on the greater part of that duty” (488) to allow young Tom more sleep, which proves him to be considerate of others. Oakhurst also gives Tom his snowshoes he had made in order for Tom to be able to make it back to Poker Flat in hope to save Tom and Piney. ‘“There’s one chance in a hundred to save her yet,” he said, “but it’s there,” he added, pointing toward Poker Flat.’ Another character that makes up for her actions in Poker Flat that lead to her banishment is Mother Shipton. She portrays extreme maturity and kindness by starving herself, which causes her death ten days after their journey began, and saving her rations for Piney, a young girl that is

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