Monday, October 18, 2010

A Poker Game, by: Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane was an American writer from the late 19th century. He is well known for his story, The Red Badge of Courage. Being the kind of girl I am, I didn’t just buy the novel, I bought, The Red Badge of Courage and Other Stories. A Poker Game (click the link to read the text online) is the last in the collection of stories.

Maybe it’s because I’m unfamiliar with his style or maybe it’s because I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I don’t know, but I had to re-read the story just to make sure I understood the ending. Once I read it the second time and thought about what the actor, Archie Bracketts said to the main character, Bobbie Cinch, did I fully understand the end of the story. Basically, being nice can pay off in the end.

The ending seemed simplistic. Bobbie and Archie did learn something from Bobbie’s behaviour playing the last hand, but it seemed like there was a lot of build-up without enough pay off. Crane was known to write in a realist style. Maybe that’s all this is. Instead of inventing an unrealistic scenario, Crane is relaying what actually would happen.

I read The Red Badge of Courage a long time ago in school. I can’t exactly remember it, I know a soldier gets what is called a red badge of courage, but he didn’t really earn it. I remember really enjoying the story and I was glad I purchased a collection that had more of Crane’s work. A Poker Game was easy to read and I liked it, but I don’t think it lived up to my expectations.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.


  1. I read 'The Red Badge of Courage' in secondary school, a very long time ago. I may have to check out this short and others.

  2. I've not read any Crane before. Was the ending of Read Badge of Courage better?

  3. Honestly, I don't remember the ending. I read the story in... 2002? I remember that I liked it as a whole, but not the ending specifically. I think it's definitely worth re-reading, but with all the books that need to be read a first time, I don't know when I'll get to it.

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  5. Hey I was assigned to read A Poker Game by Crane and write an essay like about if it fits in with realism or not and i honestly don't even know what the story is about. Any ideas?

  6. Molly, It does fit in with realism. It's about what the title says, a poker game and what happens in that game. Crane doesn't exagerate.

    If you look up some Crane biographers and critics, as well as people who write about literary realism, I'm sure you'll find what you need.