Outcasts Of Poker Flat

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Total Opposites In the short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" by Bret Harte, the author uses characters in the story that have very similar characteristics, except for one, "Uncle Billy." John Oakhurst is a big time gambler in Poker Flat. He took large sums of money from many people in town. The residents of Poker Flat were very upset with him always winning bets and all of their money. Out of all the people that are banned from Poker Flat, Oakhurst possesses the best qualities out of the group. The people of the town were attempting to clean up Poker Flat, but they really only rid themselves of one thief and three good hearted people that had some bad breaks. The other people that were forced to leave were "The Duchess" and "Mother…show more content…
This is a side that may have never been shown if she had not left Poker Flat. Being a prostitute, The Duchess did not have a chance to learn about the men that she was pleasuring. The men that she was with were purely there for business and no relationships could ever take form. This may be the same type of awakening that Oakhurst had when he left from Poker Flat. Being a gambler by trait, he was often all alone with nobody to rely on besides himself and the cards. He referred to everything as if it were a card game. Oakhurst realizes that the way to survive is by caring for the others, and having them do the same for him. In Mother Shipton's words this Oakhurst was so different that "'he didn't say cards once' during the evening," (Harte 610). The Duchess and Oakhurst both experienced an awakening upon leaving Poker Flat. Mother Shipton is another madam from Poker Flat that is being exiled. She takes on the role of the "Mother" figure to Piney and The Duchess. At the beginning of the journey Mother Shipton is very loud and bitter towards the world. She would often use "bad language" and at one point expressed a "desire to cut somebody's heart out" (Harte 608). But by the end of the story, Mother Shipton has softened up and shows consideration towards members of the group that was never thought possible. She gives up everything that she has including her own life to try and save Piney. While they are camped in the
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