Outcasts of Poker Flat Discussion Questions

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Harte explains that the outcasts are expelled from Poker Flat by a "secret committee." Research the prevalence of vigilante justice in the American West and attempt to determine the extent to which such activities were viewed as a necessary element of the settlement process.

Although Harte is often described as a "frontier humorist," this story reads as a tragedy. Discuss how a writer may appeal to conflicting emotions, and Identify other authors who embrace a similar contradiction in style.

Considering the historical events of the 1860s, what messages in Harte's story would have been considered controversial to readers in that era?

Read "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Harte's protégé, Mark Twain. Discuss possible influences of Harte's writing on Twain's. Which story do you like better, and why?

Think of some recent Western movies, television shows, or books. Do any of...

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This section contains 177 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Outcasts of Poker Flat Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Outcasts of Poker Flat from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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