Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Analysis of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"

The story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" written by Mark Twain is a short story about a man who meets another Southerner who tells stories of a man who has been cheated in a bet on how far a frog can jump. In the short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" written by Mark Twain, it contains many different characteristics of regionalism. This story would be considered to be regionalism because it contains certain events or a dialect from a certain area or other certain areas of a region or a nation. For example, Twain is quoted as saying,"He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'klated to edercate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut see him turn one summerset, or may be a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a cat. (Twain 499)" From this excerpt it is easy to see how the dialect of the region has been included to relate to the people of that certain region(Anderson).
This story contains regionalism also by how Twain portrays one of the main characters in his story, Simon Wheeler. Simon Wheeler is a traditional man from the who carries the Southern dialect and attitude with him(Twain 500). This trait is what links this story most to the idea of regionalism(Anderson). Since Twain has included almost a life-like character in his story that is from the South, then when readers from the South read this story can relate to the happenings of Simon Wheeler. The easterner in the story also reflects very heavy regionalism. By the way he acts within the story, and due to the experiences that the characters in the story have with him, it is safe to say that according to Twain, in the times when this story was written, Easterners may have been rude and a little snobby(Twain 501). Since Twain has created very realistic characters when it comes to Simon Wheeler and to the Easterner, the reader of this story can relate to the characters in the story if they are from the certain region, making the writing much more clear and easy to relate to for these people(Anderson). This is the main goal of realist writing. Since realism is writing that tries to express life as it is, then the author, Twain accomplished the purpose of the story when including Smiley in the story(Werlock). Even though the reader or audience does not know if he is real or not, Twain does a very good job of making his character come to life and trying to make Smiley's experiences seem true. For example, when Twain is describing the event when Smiley gets cheated out of winning the bet with the frogs, he makes the situation seem almost real by the way Twain bring the character to life by having the character fit the exact description the Twain has given him. In this way, Twain has also accomplished the goal of realism because of the way he makes the events in the story and the characters seem real(Werlock).

Anderson, George P., Judith S. Baughman, Matthew J. Bruccoli, and Carl Rollyson, eds."regionalism." Encyclopedia of American Literature: Into the Modern: 1896–1945, vol. 3, Revised Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2008. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. EAmL1330&SingleRecord=True (accessed February 14, 2011).

Twain, Mark. "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Glencoe Literature. Comp. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Columbus; McGraw-Hill, 2010. 498-502. Print.

Werlock, Abby H. P. "realism." The Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story, Second Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Feb 13, 2011.

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