What is the significance of the long card game in the middle of the story; who walks away as the "winner"?

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cathibee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story “Fleur” is originally a chapter form the novel Tracks, but was published independently as a short story as well. The central plot of the story is absorbed, as it were, by a very long, drawn out poker game.


The poker game is significant for a number of reasons, and most importantly as a result of its participants. Fleur is representative of the socially disadvantaged, poor female. She has no privileges in the world in general and most certainly not in the world of poker, which is primarily reserved for men.


By winning, Fleur disproves not only the myth of the colonized people, but also of her gender. She is cunning and clever. She wins the poker game not by chance, but by design.


The length of the poker game is significant, since it allows Fleur to fully exploit the power she knows she has. This is done on the basis of the disbelief of the men. She has them at a disadvantage, but unable to believe this, they continue the game until they lose everything.


As such, the card game is symbolic of the incongruous relationship between the colonizer and the colonized; and the colonized, poor, woman wins.


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