Lucius "Luke" Provine

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Lucius "Luke" Provine
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Provine, Lucius "Luke"
Luke Provine
Butch Provine
Lucius Hogganbeck
Lower Class
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Friday, January 1, 1892 to Saturday, December 31, 1892

A major character in the story, the man whom the frame narrator calls "Lucius" and Ratliff calls "Luke" Provine is a hanger-on at the hunting camp who is suffering from a persistent case of hiccups and who becomes the butt of a practical joke when he goes to a nearby Indian mound to seek a cure for it. A "tall, apparently strong and healthy man . . . who makes no effort whatever to support his wife and three children" (64), he is described by the narrator at the beginning of the story as forty and almost toothless, as well as violent, shiftless and boozy. Twenty years earlier he was notorious in the region as the leader of a "gang" of delinquents; one of the gang's actions in that past gives rise to the story's main events. (In almost every respect this character seems identical with the character of Lucius Hogganbeck, who appears in 3 other texts - and in Faulkner’s revision of "A Bear Hunt" story for Big Woods, he renamed the character "Lucius Hogganbeck.")

CUT: who “terrorized our quiet town after the unimaginative fashion of wild youth by letting off pistols on the square late Saturday nights or galloping their horses down scurrying and screaming lanes of churchgoing ladies on Sunday morning” (64); Another youthful exploit that proves important in the main plot of the story was the time that the Provine gang terrorized a Negro church picnic by riding up on them “with drawn pistols and freshly lit cigars” then taking the men one by one and burning their celluloid shirt collars, “leaving each victim’s neck ringed with an abrupt and faint and painless ring of carbon” (65); In the present day of the story, Provine is described as a shiftless man with an apparent drinking problem and who is prone to violence, depicted somewhat comically in the story in his assault on Ratliff for his role in the practical joke played on Provine by Old Man Ash.
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