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Pike


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Character type in American humor, a genus of Western immigrant during the pioneering period of the mid-19th century. The Pike characters were traditionally natives of Pike County, although this locality was variously assigned to Missouri, Arkansas, southern Illinois, northern Texas, or generally to the frontier area. A man from Pike County was usually depicted as an ignorant, suspicious backwoodsman, good-natured as the butt of frequent jokes, but savagely acquisitive. His exaggerated, droll speech was characterized by an expressive, imaginative dialect. In Bayard Taylor's At Home and Abroad (1860), he is described as:the Anglo Saxon relapsed into semi-barbarism. He is long, lathy, and sallow; he expectorates vehemently; he takes naturally to whisky; he has the “shakes” his life long at home, though he generally manages to get rid of them in California; he has little respect for the rights of others; he distrusts men in “store clothes,” but venerates the memory of Andrew Jackson.The Pike as a specific character was launched in the works of George Derby, but it was not until 1871 that he became generally known to the reading public, through Harte's East and West Poems and Hay's Pike County Ballads.

the Anglo Saxon relapsed into semi-barbarism. He is long, lathy, and sallow; he expectorates vehemently; he takes naturally to whisky; he has the “shakes” his life long at home, though he generally manages to get rid of them in California; he has little respect for the rights of others; he distrusts men in “store clothes,” but venerates the memory of Andrew Jackson.

Subjects: Literature.


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