playing card, a two of clubs, in the center next to a hunting knife

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

by Bret Harte

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What are John Oakhurst's growth and changes in the story   "The Outcasts of Poker Flat"?   Characterize John Oakhurst.

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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 streak of kind heartedness. The reader finds later in the story that Oakhurst had returned the $40 he had won from Tom Simson in a previous poker game, telling him to refrain from card-playing. He immediately takes his place as the leader of the motley group, even though his suggestions are not always followed. Like his gambling luck, his commanding presence comes and goes, and he allows his sympathy for the others to fog his good judgment. Knowing their situation is hopeless, he nevertheless pretends that Uncle Billy has gone for help and will return (though he and the two "ladies of ill repute" know the real truth). At the end, when he faces certain death, he chooses the easy way out, recognizing that like the game of poker he plays, sometimes streaks of bad luck are unavoidable. He has neither the courage to watch the others die, nor the urge to prolong his losing streak.

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