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The Outcasts of Poker Flat

by Bret Harte
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The Outcasts of Poker Flat Questions and Answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

I think the main message to readers from "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is a message about not making initial, snap judgments of people based on appearances. It is a story that teaches the classic...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2018, 4:41 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Because Tom and Piney are young, naive and trusting, the two of them touch the hearts of John Oakhurst, The Duchess and Mother Shipton. When the young lovers encounter the outcasts, they misread...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2019, 8:24 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

"The Outcasts of Poker Flat," told by an omniscient third-person narrator, relies more on external than internal conflict. However, in all cases but Uncle Billy, we see that the external conflict...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2020, 12:58 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Readers are not actually told exactly how John Oakhurst dies in this great short story; however, readers can make a fairly accurate assumption that John Oakhurst shot himself in the chest with his...

Latest answer posted February 3, 2019, 3:26 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The short answer to your question is that most of them die. Uncle Billy runs off with the mules and supplies the first night, and Tom Simson walks back to Poker Flat for help on a pair of...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2018, 11:28 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Redemption is an important theme in the story. As the title implies, the characters are outcasts, expelled from so-called respectable society by its self-appointed moral guardians. Yet in the midst...

Latest answer posted June 27, 2018, 8:44 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The word "Sabbath" is used interchangeably with "Sunday" (although they are actually different). The word "lull" means a sleepy, soothing calm. So "Sabbath lull" means the kind of sleepy, soothing...

Latest answer posted July 10, 2016, 10:00 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The last description of John Oakhurst in the story is "he who was at once the strongest and yet the weakest of the outcasts of Poker Flat." The first description is that he is a gambler. When...

Latest answer posted December 10, 2019, 12:03 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The story starts off in the little town of Poker Flat. The mood of the setting is ominously quiet. The first paragraph contains two sentences intended to establish this mood: . . . he [Oakhurst]...

Latest answer posted April 14, 2013, 9:32 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

While all of the characters of Bret Harte's "Outcasts of Poker Flat" easily engage the reader's sympathy, with the exception of the treacherous Uncle Billy, it's difficult not to feel that the...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2019, 6:54 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

John Oakhurst realizes that the theft of the mules and provisions by Uncle Billy is a death sentence for the other outcasts. With the blizzard coming and no time or form of transportation for the...

Latest answer posted January 22, 2012, 1:08 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Uncle Billy probably was plotting against the other outcasts from the moment they were banished. The story doesn't specifically indicate this, but the reader knows that Uncle Billy should not be...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2015, 1:29 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

At the beginning of the story, a notorious gambler named Mr. John Oakhurst, two prostitutes, and a thief/alcoholic named Uncle Billy are banished from the lawless town of Poker Flat. As the four...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2018, 4:47 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Uncle Billy is not affected by Tom and Piney because he is the worst of the lot. He is the only one among them who took from people what they were not willing to give and he was a drunkard. John...

Latest answer posted September 8, 2009, 8:27 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

After the selfish, malevolent Uncle Billy steals the party's supplies and absconds with their horses, John Oakhurst takes careful inventory of their remaining rations and discovers that they only...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2019, 1:49 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

When a question asks whether an action is right or wrong, the answer is generally going to be subjective. That means, of course, that two people who read the same story might have different answers...

Latest answer posted February 17, 2014, 9:35 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

When night falls after Mother Shipton's burial and Tom Simson's departure for Poker Flats, the point in the plot of "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" that creates the greatest intensity and suspense...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2017, 1:35 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Many of the citizens of Poker Flat are hypocritical because it is only after the townspeople have a change of luck and monetary status that they become moral. After having "suffered the loss of...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2015, 10:12 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

This story is depressing. The main reason for that is because the conflicts do not get resolved in any way that I would say leads to a happy ending. Readers are introduced to the conflict of man...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2019, 2:43 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

At the beginning of the story, a notorious gambler named Mr. John Oakhurst is preparing to leave Poker Flat after a secret committee has decided to rid the town of "improper persons." Recently,...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2018, 1:40 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The central conflict in the short story revolves around the outcasts, who are escorted to the edge of town and warned not to return. The town has decided to purify itself of undesirables, people...

Latest answer posted July 28, 2009, 3:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

At the beginning of the story, the Duchess is portrayed as a sinful prostitute, who is exiled from Poker Flat along with John Oakhurst, Mother Shipton, and Uncle Billy. On their journey from Poker...

Latest answer posted January 16, 2019, 2:46 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

In "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," Bret Harte's primary point concerns judging people based on their hearts and character rather than their outward appearances or, in this case, their professions....

Latest answer posted September 30, 2013, 11:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Billy is exiled from Poker Flat for being a drunken nuisance and a suspected thief. The women are expelled for prostitution, and Oakhurst's "crime" is that he is a little too successful at poker...

Latest answer posted September 7, 2018, 12:07 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

I would generally argue against John Oakhurst being considered heroic; however, if you have to give support to him being a hero character, I would concentrate on his ability to quickly analyze a...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2019, 3:54 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Exposition refers to the part of the story where the author gives background information, usually about the setting and characters. Exposition usually comes close to the beginning of a story, but...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2016, 2:44 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The stoic gambler John Oakhurst shows the most class of all the members of the party in Bret Harte's short story, "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." He alone remains silent when the group is forced out...

Latest answer posted February 19, 2010, 8:58 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Much like some of Mark Twain's narratives, Bret Harte's "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is a Western story which employs regionalisms, expressions that are distinctly Western. In addition, he wrily...

Latest answer posted May 26, 2011, 7:25 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" could have more than a single thesis about it. A thesis is a statement that makes an argument about something. A thesis could make an argument about a writer's writing...

Latest answer posted May 11, 2018, 1:28 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Several of the characters could be considered the most admirable in the story. It could be argued that Oakhurst is the most admirable because of his "philosophical calmness." Oakhurst has the...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2016, 5:47 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Clearly a dynamic character, Mother Shipton transforms from a hardened, self-centered female in a profession of "impropriety" to an altruistic, tender, and motherly woman. Ironically named Mother...

Latest answer posted July 27, 2016, 12:47 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Tom Simson and Piney Woods show up about halfway through the story. Tom quickly and a bit shyly explains why he and Piney are there, and Tom is quite excited by what he thinks is good fortune to...

Latest answer posted April 9, 2019, 10:11 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

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....

Latest answer posted February 26, 2018, 8:53 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Two of the most important symbols in "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" are the town of Poker Flat itself and the group of "objectionable characters" that it sends out into the wilderness. These two...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2012, 7:28 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Irony involves a statement or situation in which things are not as they seem to be. In Bret Harte's story, the outcasts are not what they seem to be and the "secret committee" is not what it seems...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2010, 5:10 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The classic short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" by Bret Harte tells of four people who are exiled from the town of Poker Flat because of their supposed immorality. On their journey to safety...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2019, 4:54 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Piney Woods and Tom Simpson are a young and in love couple in the short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flats." They are on their way to Poker Flat to elope. In addition to their romantic attraction...

Latest answer posted February 27, 2016, 12:20 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Gambler John Oakhurst is the most intelligent of the "Outcasts of Poker Flat." Well-dressed, with a "handsome face," Oakhurst is a "cooly desperate" man who has been exiled from the town because of...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2011, 2:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The heroism displayed by a number of characters in the story often surprises us. The protagonist, John Oakhurst, appears to have all the characteristics of a conventional hero, and yet when the...

Latest answer posted April 7, 2018, 7:18 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

In the short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" by Bret Harte, four of the town's residents are banished for supposed immoral behavior, forcing them to hike over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2021, 12:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Throughout the Bret Harte story, "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," there are metaphors about cards that used by Mr. Oakhurst. For one, he hides the cards when the situation worsens. Then, he tells...

Latest answer posted September 6, 2010, 4:02 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

This is a short story that very interestingly seems to blur the boundaries between discrete categories such as "good" and "bad" and "moral" and "corrupt." This is most clearly shown in the fate of...

Latest answer posted January 18, 2012, 4:52 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

One of the first events is the expulsion from Poker Flats of the outcasts. Then, after their first night in the mountains, Uncle Billy, one of the outcasts steals the group's meager provisions...

Latest answer posted November 19, 2008, 8:47 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

At heart, the gambler John Oakhurst, the main character in Bret Harte's short story, "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," is an old softy. He is an honorable man with sympathetic leanings toward those...

Latest answer posted March 26, 2010, 5:03 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Poker Flat has a reputation of being a rather lawless, ungovernable settlement where criminals, gamblers, and prostitutes frequent and make their living. However, Poker Flat has recently...

Latest answer posted February 2, 2019, 12:57 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

I don't know that John Oakhurst really changed all that much during "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." Oakhurst was a different kind of gambler: Although he was always cool and confident, he also had a...

Latest answer posted February 22, 2012, 11:16 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

It is interesting to note that Bret Harte launched the career of the great humorist Mark Twain, especially in light of the irony that contemporary readers of his failed to find the humor in his...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2012, 7:21 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

There are four main outcasts in “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” who end up dying or disappearing throughout the story. The first outcast to go is Uncle Billy. On the group’s first night outside of...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2009, 8:07 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

In Bret Harte's "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," certain disreputable characters are told to leave town and are "forbidden to return at peril of their lives." With ironic humor, Harte describes the...

Latest answer posted June 9, 2009, 12:48 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The gambler, Mr. Oakhurst, is banished to the outskirts of the Poker Flat, a Californian settlement. He is not hanged because he does not cheat at cards, and those who won from Oakhurst have enough...

Latest answer posted February 3, 2016, 12:06 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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