The Outcasts of Poker Flat Questions and Answers
by Bret Harte

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From the short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," how could you analyze John Oakhurst's character?

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One way to begin an analysis of a character is to start with the way that an author characterizes a particular character. Most authors will use a mixture of direct and indirect characterization. Direct characterization happens when the narrator expressly tells readers a detail about a character. For example, the opening paragraphs of the story tell readers that Oakhurst is a gambler with a calm and handsome face. Indirect characterization happens when readers have to infer characteristics of a character based on how that character acts and/or speaks. The brunt of Oakhurst's characterization is done this way. For example, Oakhurst is not an easily angered or upset kind of guy. He's not someone who makes rash and heated decisions. He accepts the facts as they are presented to him, and he remains cool, calm, and collected as he makes decisions. The narrator doesn't tell readers that Oakhurst is this way. The narrator shows readers these character traits of Oakhurst.

Mr. Oakhurst received his...

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