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Regionalism

In: English and Literature

Submitted By armygirl40
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Regionalism
Phaedra Rosengarth
ENG302
November 29, 2010
Judith Glass

Regionalism
Literature which highlights a specific geographical setting and the history, manners, and folkways of the area in order to shape the lives of the characters is known as regionalism. The foothills and central coast regions of California are described in detail in the stories, “The Outcasts of Poker Flat,” by Bret Harte and “The Joy Luck Club,” by Amy Tan, and the poem, “The Purse Seine,” by Robinson Jeffers.
“The Outcasts of Poker Flat” by Bret Harte is set approximately halfway between the mining camps of Poker Flat and Sandy Bar, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, during the California Gold Rush in November 1850. The main characters are the Duchess, a prostitute; John Oakhurst, a gambler; Mother Shipton, a madam (who owns the prostitute Duchess); Tom Simson, a very innocent young man; Uncle Billy, a thief and drunk; and Piney Woods, who is Tom Simson’s bride-to-be. The best description of the original camp site is “a wooded amphitheatre, surrounded on three sides by precipitous cliffs of naked granite, sloped gently toward the crest of another precipice that overlooked the valley” (Perkins and Perkins, 2009, p. 1179). This shows how rugged and steep the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California are. The inhabitants of Poker Flat hope to improve the town by banishing a group of undesirables: expert gambler John Oakhurst; a prostitute known as Duchess; her madam, Mother Shipton; and Uncle Billy, the town drunkard and a suspected thief. Leaving Poker Flat, the group heads toward the next community, Sandy Bar, which is located on the other side of a mountain pass. About halfway into the journey, the group decides to stop and camp for the night. Later, Tom Simson, riding from Sandy Bar with his fifteen-year-old fiancé, Piney Woods, arrives at the camp and shares his...

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