The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Kathleen Wilson (Editor), Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, Volume 1, Mark Twain, Published by Gale, 1997. These pilgrims usually traveled from east to west, from a settled and familiar place to a land where there was much to be discovered. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services. Jim Smiley approaches gambling as a profession, and he clearly is honest and straightforward in his dealings—rather than rigging his bets, he puts hard work into training his animals to be unlikely winners. Like the mare, Jim Smiley’s bulldog does not look like a winner, consequently inviting people to judge him based on his appearance. Essays for The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Trudy Ring, for Short Stories for Students, Gale Research, 1997. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. However, even though the Eastern narrator was largely uninterested in the content of Wheeler’s tale, he writes it down, thereby preserving and celebrating the tradition of Western storytelling. December 11, 2019. by JL Admin. To Smith, Smiley is a more positive character, to be praised for his optimism and energy, who grows as a person when his frog is defeated; he learns not to be so naive and gullible. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” appears at first glance to be a simple, humorous story, but actually is a complex satire of American literature, social conventions, and politics. However, the narrator is fascinated by Wheeler’s method of conveying the story. A minister figures in Simon Wheeler’s tale, too; he mentions that Jim Smiley would attend Parson Walker’s camp meetings for the purpose of making bets. The name Smiley, Smith added, “suggests that in him the hopes of the land are invested and in his rejuvenation rests the chance to turn the waste land into the smiling land it once was.” Simon Wheeler is, in Smith’s view, an enchanter and a spinner of tales; his tale holds the clue to Leonidas W. Smiley’s disappearance. Even though Dan’l Webster’s inability to jump is unexplainable in this moment—and should, perhaps, seem fishy—Smiley honors the bet and dutifully pays the stranger forty dollars. Either way, Wheeler’s tale can be interpreted as a commentary that ambitious, individualistic types would benefit from taking a hard look at themselves, maintaining the admirable aspects of their personalities, and being willing to change the rest. Wheeler’s dialect reveals his lack of an Eastern education and emphasizes that he’s a bit rough around the edges. A further sign of the nation’s decay is that the minister’s last name has been taken over by a compulsive gambler. After cheating in the bet, the stranger leaves in order to escape punishment, permanently deeming himself an outsider. The story was also published as “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” is set in a gold-mining camp in Calaveras County, California. the tale follows .. . However, Smiley makes sure his animals win their competitions by training them effectively—not by cheating. It takes some knowledge of history to appreciate Twain’s humor here, but this knowledge allows the reader to understand and enjoy the story on yet another level. Many writers of the era penned “frame stories,” commonly set in the southwestern United States, showing supposedly sophisticated and cultured Easterners encountering less polished characters on the frontiers of the expanding nation. As Smith noted, Twain was known to be skeptical of organized religion, so it is significant that his narrator is looking for information about a minister; the clergy becomes associated with the narrator’s smug attitudes. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Like the land around the mining settlement of Angel’s Camp, it has riches under the surface, and the patient and careful reader can tap into this vein. It was under the title of “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog.”. These names, along with other aspects of the story, led one scholar, Paul Smith, to make an interpretation in Satire Newsletter that seems a bit far-fetched, but is sufficiently interesting to merit the attention of anyone studying the story. He reports that he went to see Simon Wheeler “in compliance with the request of a friend of mine”; he “hereunto append[s] the result.” He assures Wheeler that he “would feel under many obligations to him” for any information Wheeler could provide about Rev. This illustrates that Smiley is a clever but honest businessman; he relies on other people’s biases (and his animals’ extensive training) to make his money. It seems increasingly likely that Smiley will have to learn for himself the danger of trusting in appearances. The contrast between the narrator and Wheeler serves primarily to “direct us to the humor that follows,” he argued. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Instant downloads of all 1377 LitChart PDFs The unnamed narrator is irritated that his friend from the East set him up to listen to a monotonous story, which suggests from the outset that the narrator won’t exactly enjoy Wheeler’s tale. The rough Westerners would tell tales that were often preposterous, and the Easterners’ account of, and reaction to, these stories provided a “frame” for them. Critics have found a variety of valuable points in Wheeler’s narrative. If the letters “o” and “s” are dropped from “Leonidas,” the remaining letters can be rearranged into “Daniel,” and the “W” stands for “Webster.” The king, therefore, has been turned into a frog, just as in the original Fisher-King tale, Smith asserted. (including. Like the land around the mining settlement of Angel’s Camp, it has riches under the surface, and the patient and careful reader can tap into this vein. Smith saw “Jumping Frog” as a retelling of the great legends of pilgrims on a quest for knowledge and spiritual salvation. The appearances of Jim Smiley’s many animals are deceiving, as seen with his racing mare. The dog’s namesake, President Andrew Jackson, had a public image as the champion of the common people and symbolized the belief that anyone, no matter how humble his origins, could, by talent and hard work, rise to the top of society. Smith saw the story’s nameless narrator as one of these pilgrims. Jim Smiley is full of good intentions and immediately trusts to the stranger to watch his precious frog, Dan’l Webster. And because Daniel Webster, the man, was a politician, the transformation symbolizes how practical politics have replaced religious idealism in American life. Right away, Wheeler and Angel Camp seem distinctively (and perhaps stereotypically) Western. Baender contended that “Jumping Frog” resembles southwestern frame stories but does not actually fit into this category.”Simon Wheeler sees no class or regional pretensions in the narrator and has none of his own .. . Inspired by an anecdote Mark Twain heard while traveling in the western United States, the sketch was published in various forms and under various titles, including “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” and “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” but the basic story remains the same in all versions. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain. Twain’s accomplishment, Schmidt commented, is “much more than the simple addition of another character to his satiric targets”; the author has managed to satirize “the entire point of view of the local colorist” and “the genteel version of the Enlightened traveler and belle esprit, a representative nineteenth-century American rich in official and accepted attitudes.”, There is much in the story to support this view.

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