The Outcasts of Poker Flat

The Outcasts of Poker Flat Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Fire (Symbol)

The fire built by the exiles symbolizes hell, blazing "heavenward" in opposition to the falling snow.

Snow (Symbol)

Snow is a powerful symbol of spiritual cleansing and forgiveness, literally and figuratively wiping away all stains on the exiles' bodies and souls.

Deuce of Clubs (Symbol)

The playing card that John Oakhurst leaves as his tombstone symbolizes his trust in luck and chance as the guiding forces of life and death.

The Iliad (Allegory)

Tom's recital of the Iliad ties into existing themes of fate in the story, as Achilles—the character in whom John Oakhurst is most interested—is known for being fated by the Greek gods to defy death until he is shot in the ankle. John also resembles Achilles in his stoic masculinity.

Poker (Motif)

Poker is a dominant motif in the story, as it is both the namesake of the town from which John Oakhurst and his companions are exiled and the game that drives Oakhurst to be exiled from the town. It ultimately ties into the themes of chance and luck that govern the story, as the playing card that marks Oakhurst's grave symbolizes his changing luck in the poker game of life.