Date Published: November 18, 1865

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: Summary

A yarn so wildly entertaining it'll leap right off the page, 'The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County' takes us back to the frontier gold-mining camp of Angels, California. It's here we meet Simon Wheeler, a verbose old man with a tale as tall as the Sierras about his acquaintance, Jim Smiley. A notorious gambler, Smiley could bet on anything that had two sides, with a particular fondness for animal contests. His prized competitor, Dan'l Webster, a frog of such prodigious leaping abilities, could out-jump any creature in Calaveras County. But when a slick stranger with a quick wit strolls into town, it becomes clear that even the most surefire bet can have its pitfalls. A humorous jaunt into the American West, Twain's story is a masterful exploration of tall tales and the nature of deception.

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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Author: Mark Twain

Date Published: November 18, 1865

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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: Genres

Tall Tale

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: Main Characters

Simon Wheeler: An old, garrulous man who narrates the story of Jim Smiley and his jumping frog. He is characterized by his propensity for detailed and drawn-out storytelling.

Jim Smiley: A betting man who would wager on anything, he is competitive and gullible. His trust in the honor of others, as demonstrated when he leaves Dan’l with the stranger, is his downfall.

Dan’l Webster: Smiley’s renowned jumping frog, known far and wide for his jumping prowess. He represents the subject of Smiley’s overconfidence.

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: Themes

Deception: Demonstrated when the stranger tricks Jim Smiley by weighing down Dan’l Webster, showing that appearances can be deceiving.

Gambling: Personified in the character of Jim Smiley, who bets on anything and everything, indicating a critique of risk-taking and speculation.

Storytelling: The character of Simon Wheeler emphasizes this theme, as he is a storyteller who shares the tale with the story’s narrator. This highlights the tradition of oral storytelling and tall tales.

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