Roaring Camp

The Regeneration of Roaring Camp

"And so the work of regeneration began is Roaring Camp"(9). The
regeneration referred to takes place in a California mining camp in 1850 after
the birth of Tommy Luck, son of Cherokee Sal, the camp?s prostitute, who
died giving birth. Sometimes one doesn?t realize how much he needs to
change until he gets a subtle push from fate. Just a little addition to the world
can cause a regeneration of a lifetime. Bret Harte demonstrates this idea in
the story "The Luck of Roaring Camp." In this story, Bret Harte shows that
even the roughest men can regenerate into kind, gentle, wholesome people,
with the love of a child.

"The term "roughs" applied to them was a distinction rather than a
definition(3). The men of Roaring Camp live the way they please. They have
no rules or regulations, nobody to impress, and nobody to tell them what to
do or how to act. "The assemblage numbered about one hundred men. One
or two of these were actual fugitives from justice, some were criminal, and all
were reckless"(2). The men of Roaring Camp were unruly and all it takes is
the love of an infant to change the rude into responsible. Roaring Camp will
go through a regeneration of a lifetime. All of the men at the mining camp
will strive to make Roaring Camp a suitable place for a baby to live. The
very first signs that the men are in the process of change is when they went to
see the baby for the first time. They walked in a single file line and in an
orderly fashion. Many gave the baby a contribution. The sorry state of the
camp and the men under went change immediately after the arrival of the

"Almost imperceptibly a change came over the settlement"( 9). The
new baby was given the name Tommy Luck, but was known around the camp
as "The Luck." The men made sure that Luck was scrupulously clean. The
men decided it was time to under go changes themselves. "The reflections of
the latter on the appearance of Roaring Camp tended to produce stricter
habits of personal cleanliness"(9). The men wore clean shirts and moral and
sanitary laws were not neglected. The men of Roaring Camp gave up
shouting and profanity because they did not want to disturb Luck. Some men
even sang the baby lullabies. The birth of the baby definitely changed the
men, and Roaring Camp for the better.

"It was wonderful how many treasures the woods and hillsides yielded
that "would do for Tommy"(11). The men of Roaring Camp regenerated just
because of the love of a baby. Tommy Luck was known as "The Luck of
Roaring Camp." The men felt that as long as they had Tommy, they had the
luck with them. One should never put all of his trust in luck because sooner
or later his luck is bound to run out. The men put all of their faith into one
little baby. "Such was the golden summer of Roaring Camp. They were
"flush times," and the Luck was with them"(12). The men gave the baby the
credit for their gold findings. The men said their gold mining was going so
well because they had Luck. They found out they weren?t too lucky when the
baby drowned in the flood. Spiritual redemption is clearly shown in "The
Luck of Roaring Camp." Men can change simply because of the love of a
baby. Also don?t put all of one?s faith in luck, because your luck will leave
The men at Roaring Camp change from rough, dirty, and loud, to kind,
clean, and conservative because of the warmth of a child. Tommy Luck
really brings out the best in the men. The men also learned a valuable lesson.
Don?t set your mind on luck because it won?t last forever. The story clearly
shows the sorry state of the men and the camp before and after the birth of the
baby, the regeneration of the men, and the story?s spiritual redemption. Bret
Harte does a great job of portraying each character and morals in "The Luck
of Roaring Camp."