The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The Outcasts of Poker Flat Metaphors and Similes

"Feathery drifts of snow, shaken from the long pine-boughs, flew like white-winged birds, and settled about them as they slept." (Narrator) (Simile)

The narrator compares the snow falling on the sleeping exiles to "white-winged birds," recalling the iconic biblical image of the white dove that visits Noah's ark to signify the end of the purifying flood. This is ironic, as the snow is symbolically purifying the group as it kills them.

"With him life was at best an uncertain game" (Narrator) (Metaphor)

In Oakhurst's eyes, life looks much like a game of poker. Here, the narrator explicitly compares the two, invoking the themes of luck, chance, and fate that dominate the story.

"But it revealed drift on drift of snow piled high around the hut,—a hopeless, uncharted, trackless sea of white lying below the rocky shores to which the castaways still clung" (Narrator) (Metaphor)

Although the exiles' surroundings are cold and desolate, the narrator compares the snowy mountain passes that trap them to the sea, as if the group is on a deserted island. In doing so, the narrator magnifies the sense of isolation and doom underlying their dramatic situation: although civilization is within sight, they might as well be marooned at sea.

"Day by day closer around them drew the snowy circle, until at last they looked from their prison over drifted walls of dazzling white" (Narrator) (Metaphor)

Here, the narrator draws a comparison between the banks of snow trapping the exiles and the walls of a prison, again pointing to the degree of isolation and entrapment besetting Oakhurst and his companions.