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Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

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Essay title: Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

“The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is one of the most famous tall tales written by an amazing author of the west, Mark Twain. His popularity has mainly arisen from his "Huckleberry Finn" stories, but the “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was one of his first stories and the one that brought him into notice to the public. When he was writing for newspapers, he was also traveling a great deal, for example to California. On the ship he made acquaintance of Bret Hart and when they reached the San Francisco Mint, Twain told Hawk this story of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" as it was called at first. In the present time, Twain, who was born in Florida on November 30, 1835 and died 1910, is described as “a humorist and master of simple and effective narrative and of vivid description, but under all this lie depths of melancholic wisdom and a great capacity for righteous indignation.” (www.bartleby.com Twain) “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" certainly implies how Twain is able to send an important message across his tale, while showing a comical side to the story.

The story takes place at Angels Camp, a mining town in the west, still existing today. It is the winter of 1849 and spring of 1850 during the Gold Rush. At first sight, the story seems to be childish, without any deeper meaning and very confusing. The confusion is due to the fact that it is a story within a story- a background story. One might get the impression that the narrative proliferates and the reader finds it difficult to keep track of the action.

This tall tale uses various features to convey its message. The language becomes very obvious in the "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and it creates confusion for the reader who does not know whether he is being confronted with a lie or the truth. In fact the tall tale is something in between. “Fiction is used to criticize or describe non-fictional happenings” (www.bartleby.com) in this tall tale.

The story starts with a short introduction and continues with a line of narrative. In the introduction the background story teller, who is from the East appears and claims that he is looking for a person named Reverend Levidas W. Smiley. He has been told that he might ask Simon Wheeler, a man from the West, because Smiley had once been his boyhood companion and a resident of Angel's Camp.

The narrator finds Wheeler "dozing" in front of a "dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp of Angel's"(Twain 570). According to the Easterner, the Westerners are lazy and live in run- down mining camps. Furthermore, the narrator describes Wheeler as "fat and bald-headed” and having “an expression of winning kindness and ease" (Twain 569). This proves that he does not categorize Wheeler as a highly educated person who cares for his appearance. After being asked, Wheeler starts his questions of a man named Jim Smiley, who is apparently not the one searched for, who has a dull voice and lacking any enthusiasm but with

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(2009, 11). Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. EssaysForStudent.com. Retrieved 11, 2009, from https://www.essaysforstudent.com/essays/Notorious-Jumping-Frog-of-Calaveras-County/9317.html

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