The Luck of Roaring Camp
The story starts with a unique event. What is it? What significance can you attach to the event? The story is commenced by a unique event which is the birth of a boy in the gold mining camp where “Deaths were not unusual in Roaring Camp; but a birth was big news”. Particularly, the appearance of the baby, an orphan now, in the “roaring” land among all men who were either fugitives, criminals, or prospectors put them into a quandary.
They were a rude assortment of all the stereotypical bad people in the world, certainly not fit to be the guardians of a baby. The presence of the child, therefore, forecasts the unprecedented changes in this land and in these men. Additionally, as far as I know, in comparison with the Orient perspective, the Occident seems to consider the birthday much more important than the passing one since Birthday is the starting point of a new life. 2. List 2 changes that were brought about with the coming of the baby. How do you interpret these changes?Changes then began in Roaring Camp along with the coming of the baby; work of regeneration almost imperceptibly came over the settlement. First, “Roaring Camp produced stricter ‘personal cleanliness’ upon those who aspired to hold ‘The Luck’. Taking Kentuck as a typical example, he was formerly unfamiliar with anything ‘clean’, appeared every afternoon in a clean shirt, and face shining. The men changed their clothes like a snake shedding skin for a new beautiful and hopeful life. Besides, Stumpy had imposed a type of quarantine on who would have the honor of holding Tommy.Tommy was supposed to always be at peace and not disturbed by noise, therefore the shouting and yelling was not permitted within hearing distance of Stumpy. The gamblers, drinkers and criminals used to make the camp become a “roaring” one, now seriously “converse in whispers, or smoked with Indian gravity”. I acknowledge clearly that the child made all the crude men become the dedicated one and resulted in the vast regeneration profoundly inside their spirits and souls. They all oriented to the new life, very peaceful, very beautiful and gentle. 3.What do you perceive as the most touching detail of the story? The image at the end of the story which described Kentuck holding Luck evokes innumerable emotion on me. Even being cruelly crushed, he still held The Luck of Roaring Camp in his arms. Death has once again been present – The death of ‘the Luck’. All the men put great love on Luck, their pride, their hope and their joy, especially Kentuck. From the first moment when Luck was born, “as Kentuck bent over the table curiously, the child turned and caught at his finger, and held it fast for a moment.Kentuck looked foolish and embarrassed something like a blush in his weather-beaten cheek”. He held his love tightly in his arms but Luck was pulseless. Dead. He confirmed that and smiled, “a smile lit the eyes of the expiring Kentuck”. “Dying, he’s taking me with him”. His last words were “Tell the boys, I’ve got the Luck with me now”. He was not afraid of death, no moaning, no groaning, conversely, he satisfied and content with his destiny that he were with Luck now and kept the baby for eternity. Kentuck died, but he left the world knowing he would be going to a better place.Until the last moment of his life, Kentuck still put his entire attempt to protect the Luck and the Luck of Roaring Camp always was safe with his care. “The strong man, clinging to the frail babe, drifted away into the shadowy river that flows forever to the unknown sea”. 4. If you can say one thing about Kentuck, what do you say? Kentuck – a prominent citizen of the Roaring Camp, he spent all his love for the Luck. He extremely loved and cared for the baby. Kentuck is the representative of the miners in Gold Rush.He has changed himself completely because of the appearance of the child; from deeply inside his soul, he still was starving for a normal and peaceful life with family and with the coming babies. Harte has successfully built up the earthly image of the man, which reflected clearly Realism in this writing. 5. How do you see the disastrous ending of the story? Story is closed with the very disastrous ending – The Death of three main characters: Stumpy, Kentuck and Luck. I feel as if they were a family with Stumpy as mother, Kentuck as father and Luck as their son.It can be seen that the story is the flexible and harmonic mixture of both Romanticism and Realism. And the author applied Realism to terminate his work, which, I suppose, will be accumulated in readers’ mind for the long run. After witnessing the positive improvements of the Roaring Camp, the readers strongly believe in the bright future for all people, a happy ending. But it seems that if the story developed following that direction, the feeling of comfort would be remained in readers’ mind. However, the ending of this writing actually puts the emotion of torment on readers and that seems much more impressive and profound. . Where is the setting of the story? What is the time when the story occurred (1850)? What do you know about this land at that time? Who are the population? Sketch their life/ values? The Luck of Roaring Camp is set in a mining town at the time of the California Gold Rush of 1850. Gold Rush (1848-1855) attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia and China. By the beginning of 1849, word of the Gold Rush had spread around the world, and an overwhelming number of gold-seekers and merchants began to arrive from virtually every continent.The largest group of forty-niners in 1849 was Americans, arriving by the tens of thousands overland across the continent and along various sailing routes. It is estimated that approximately 90,000 people arrived in California in 1849. Of these, perhaps 50,000 to 60,000 were Americans, and the rest were from other countries. By 1855, it is estimated at least 300,000 gold-seekers, merchants, and other immigrants had arrived in California from around the world. In 1849 as a whole of 10 million dollars worth for gold was mined.But the rush ensured that very few prospectors made their fortune, many returned home with little more than they had started with. Most miners spent their free time drinking and gambling. Besides men, there were even women in the Gold Rush. They held various roles including prostitutes, single entrepreneurs, married women, poor and wealthy women. The reasons they came varied: some came with their husbands, refusing to be left behind to fend for themselves, some came because their husbands sent for them, and others came (singles and widows) for the adventure and economic opportunities.On the trail many people died from accidents, cholera, fever, and myriad other causes and many women became widows before even setting eyes on California. While in California, women were widows quite frequently due to mining accidents, disease, or mining disputes of their husbands. In conclusion, the gold-seeker often faced substantial hardships on the life of searching for getting rich. Done by: Doan Thuy Linh – C57A – F. O. E Reference: 1. Wikipedia. com