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Facts in The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Facts Examples in The Outcasts of Poker Flat:

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

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"swift-footed Achilles..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

Homer is known for using epithets (a phrase used to describe or identify a person or thing) to characterize his gods and demigods. Throughout the Iliad, Achilles is referred to as “swift-footed” due to his superior speed and evasiveness that allow him to be a great warrior. While it is tempting to think that Achilles is only “swift-footed” while avoiding danger, the epithet “swift-footed Achilles” acts more like a permanent name. Achilles is always “swift-footed,” even while standing still because it is an innate character trait.

"son of Peleus..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

In Greek mythology, Peleus is the king of the Myrmidons (the people of Thessaly). He married a nymph named Thetis who gave birth to the “son of Peleus,” better known as Achilles. Achilles is one of the main characters of Homer’s Iliad.

"Homeric demigods..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

A “demigod” in Greek mythology is a person who has only some of the powers of a god (typically because this person is both part human and part god.) “Homeric demigods” were the ancient Greek demigods that Homer featured in his epics, the most notable of which are Achilles, Helen of Troy, and Aeneas.

"Iliad..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

The Iliad is an epic poem from ancient Greece about the Trojan War, generally believed to have been written around 750 to 800 BCE by the Greek poet Homer. There has been some debate concerning whom to credit for writing the Iliad and the Odyssey, as Homer’s very existence as a person has been questioned. Regardless, the poems are still widely considered read and part of the Western literary canon.

"Mr. Pope's..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

“Mr. Pope” refers to the 18th-century English poet, translator, and satirist, Alexander Pope. Pope was a prolific writer most known for his poems but also very well-known for his verse translations. He published his translated versions of Homer’s Iliad in 1720 and The Odyssey, with the help of British poet William Broome in 1726.

"Covenanter's swing..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

The Covenanters were a group of Scottish Presbyterians who signed what is referred to as the “National Covenant” in 1638. The goal of this covenant was to support religious freedom and autonomy for the Church of Scotland, which they thought to be threatened by King Charles I and the rest of the Stuart royal house. Some of the Covenanters immigrated to North America where they became known as “reformed Presbyterians” who were passionate and outspoken about their cause. The “Covenanter’s swing” that the narrator mentions here is alluding to these characteristics. The outcasts are inspired to sing the hymns not because of any religious beliefs, but because of the spirited nature of the performance.

"sluice-robber..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

In this context, a “sluice” is a slanted channel used to filter gold out from dirt or sand. Customarily, people would claim a certain area during their search for gold and leave their gold in the sluice for short intervals of time if needed. A “sluice-robber” is someone who would then go around stealing the gold from unattended sluices.

"Roaring Camp..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

“Roaring Camp” became a settlement in Felton, California, in the 1830s. In 1875, a railroad was opened in Roaring Camp, and today the town is commonly referred to as “Roaring Camp Railroads.” It has become a popular tourist destination in California due to its association with the California Gold Rush.

"Poker Flat..."   (The Outcasts of Poker Flat)

There are two towns that are known as “Poker Flat” in California: one that is located in Calaveras County and one that is located in the Sierra County near in the Sierra Nevada. While there has been minor dispute over which Poker Flat Harte’s story is set in, it likely depicts the latter town in Sierra County because Harte’s characters are forced to traverse part of the Sierra mountain range.

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