The story was also published as “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” is set in a gold-mining camp in Calaveras County, California. When she emerges as an unlikely winner, Smiley is able to win money from his opponents. While Jim Smiley can live a stationary lifestyle in the community because his honesty, the stranger has to immediately flee town in order to escape being punished for his deceitful behavior. Leonidas was the name of the king of ancient Sparta, and a minister is, in a phrase used in the Bible, a fisher of men. However, it seems that Smiley is growing prideful due to his nearly spotless track record, implying that he is perhaps about to be proven wrong. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. The appearances of Jim Smiley’s many animals are deceiving, as seen with his racing mare. The stranger doesn’t belong to the community, and he is aware that he is an outsider to Angel’s Camp. Twain resolved this conflict, according to Schmidt, by separating his own point of view from that of the narrator and by making fun of the narrator’s pomposity and pretension. Smiley boasted that his frog could “outjump any frog in Calaveras County.” When the stranger enters town, Jim Smiley immediately trusts him and tries to engage him in a bet. LitCharts Teacher Editions. 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 .. . The narrator obviously is annoyed by Wheeler’s “interminable narrative,” but maintains an attitude of pained tolerance, all the time letting us know he considers himself superior to Wheeler. Leonidas W. Smiley. 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. Trudy Ring, for Short Stories for Students, Gale Research, 1997. As an outsider leading a roaming lifestyle, the stranger doesn’t find himself beholden to the same code of integrity that Smiley honors. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." Jim Smiley loves to gamble, but he doesn’t cheat. 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. Vernacular Realism in Twain Works The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Quotes I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and as tedious as it should be … The names of other characters are meaningful, as well, and this is something upon which numerous critics have commented. 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. Right away, Wheeler and Angel Camp seem distinctively (and perhaps stereotypically) Western. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Quotes I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and as tedious as it should be … The juxtaposition between the unnamed narrator’s crisp diction and Wheeler’s unrefined but passionate delivery helps further delineate the cultural differences between the East and West. Jim Smiley is full of good intentions and immediately trusts to the stranger to watch his precious frog, Dan’l Webster. 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. 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. The story of the dog, therefore, is a means of subtly ridiculing Jackson, according to Krause. Smiley is honest when he tells the stranger that his frog can jump higher than any other frog in the county, even though the stranger doesn’t know if that is true or not. However, the narrator is fascinated by Wheeler’s method of conveying the story. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our. Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” was first published in the November 18, 1865, edition of The New York Saturday Press. 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 unnamed narrator comes from the Eastern United States and thus stands as an outsider to Western culture. “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. “Some writers also contrived little contests between the traveler and the rustic in which the rustic deceived the traveler with a tall tale.”. The contrast between the narrator and Wheeler serves primarily to “direct us to the humor that follows,” he argued. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. A further sign of the nation’s decay is that the minister’s last name has been taken over by a compulsive gambler. Smiley’s integrity earns him a spot in the community, but it is also his downfall—as the following anecdote about Dan’l Webster will illustrate. The whole point of “ The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County ” is to illuminate how exaggeration is a cornerstone of humor. 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. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Instant downloads of all 1377 LitChart PDFs Once again, Smiley uses this to his advantage. The names of the bulldog pup and the frog have satirical significance, too, but here the jokes become more complicated. Wheeler ascribes just such talent to the dog, saying the animal “would have made a name for himself if he’d lived, for the stuff was in him and he had genius … he hadn’t no opportunities to speak of, and it don’t stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances if he hadn’t no talent.” Smith thought the symbolism of the name appropriate and called the dog “the embodiment of Jacksonian democracy.” But another scholar, S. J. Krause, has argued in American Quarterly that Jackson actually considered himself superior to the so-called common people, that his stubbornness was not altogether admirable, and that he had a penchant for gambling.