Thursday, January 18, 2007

Easily Established Standards of Evil

Journal No. 2
English 48B
Dr. Scott Lankford
Author I Chose: Bret Harte

From the short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flat"

I. "[I]t was only in such easily established standards of evil that Poker Flat ventured to sit in judgment."

II. This quote is in reference to a group of "misfits" and "outcasts" whom the people of Poker Flat have chosen to throw out. The outcasts have acted out immoral behavior and therefore require judgment from the "upstanding" citizens of the town. The quote, however, indicates that the people sitting in judgment are nothing more than outcasts themselves. The "judges" have established themselves as immoral people long before the day that they chose to throw this poor, harmless group of people out.

III. This is another funny quote from the story. This one is only the third paragraph into the story, so they just keep coming. I think that Harte's usage of irony is very generous. And this works for his story. Harte continues to paint a picture of a town that is wearing white on its wedding day when it should be wearing red. With fishnet stockings and garters and stiletto heels. And a peek-a-boo leather bustier. Well, I'm sure that you get what I'm trying to say. Poker Flat wants to assume an image that it can not. Poker Flat tries to play the good guy, but all of the residents seem to be nothing more than gamblers, murderers, and other types of villains. The irony is pretty grand here.


Scott said...

20 points. That's quite an outfit you concocted!