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Analysis of The Outcasts of Poker Flat

            "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is a masterpiece short story by Francis Bret Harte. The story is drawn with ordinary images, but it contains a lot of hidden feelings and inner thoughts through the characters' actions. John Oakhurst is a gambler who often wins money in playing cards with people in Poker Flat. In the beginning of the story, the narrator describes Mr. Oakhurst as if he commits a crime and he is worthy to receive a punishment: exile. However, throughout the story, Mr. Oakhurst demonstrates that he is completely different than his first appearance. Everyone in Poker Flat judges him as a cheating gambler, but it turns out that he is a man of strength. He proves how brave, kind, and compassionate he is, which cannot compare to anyone within the outcasts.
             The opening pages are filled with language that seems too grand for the events. Oakhurst notices that there is a change in the "moral atmosphere" of the town. There is a "Sabbath lull" in a community "unused to Sabbath influences." Poker Flat is experiencing a "spasm of virtuous reaction" to the crimes that have been committed. The secret committee rids the town "permanently" of two alleged criminals, while it "sits in judgment" on the "impropriety" of the "professional ladies" it decides to banish. The gambler is saved from hanging caused by "local prejudice" only because of a "crude sentiment of equity" in the breasts of several townsmen who had been lucky enough to win from him.
             Oakhurst not only shows the people of Poker Flat kindness when they judge its inhabitants of their morality, he also shows it when he meets Tom at the Sandy Bar. Mr. Oakhurst returns the money he wins from playing cards to Tom, and he encourages Tom to give up on playing cards because Tom is bad at it. Oakhurst persuades Tom stop playing poker before he is out of money.

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