marybeth04102 years, 2 months ago
The narrator in "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is a loyal friend and good-sport character, who is never identified by name. On a quest for his friend to find out information about Reverend Leonidas W. Smiley, the narrator never does discover anything about this Mr. Smiley. Instead he finds Simon Wheeler in Angel's Camp who proceeds to tell him about a man named Jim Smiley. Jim Smiley was a man who would bet on almost anything. According to Wheeler, Smiley "most always come out winner." He would bet on the typical dog and cock fights, but Smiley would also bet which bird would fly first from a fence. The Parson's wife had been ill for some time. When it appeared she had finally taken a turn for the better, Smiley bet how long it would take her to die. Smiley was the type of man to change his bet if he could not find anyone to bet against him. Even the death of his fighting dog, Andrew Jackson, did not slow Jim Smiley down. He went down to the creek with the intent of catching a frog and teaching it to jump. He caught Dan'l Weber, who Smiley boasted could jump higher than any frog in the town. Dan'l jumped and jumped and jumped, until the day Jim Smiley came across a stranger. Jim made the stranger the same bet. The stranger, however, couldn't participate because he did not have a frog. Leaving his money and Dan'l with the stranger, Jim went in search for a frog for the stranger. While Smiley was gone, the stranger dumped shot down the frog's throat making it impossible for the frog it jump. When Jim got back, the stranger's frog jumped higher, he took the bet and left. Jim was astounded until he turned Dan'l Webster over. Shot poured from his mouth but as Jim looked up and down the street it was as if the stranger had disappeared. Simon Wheeler realizes someone is calling him and the narrator leaves, no closer to information about Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley than when he met Simon Wheeler.
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Characters
Meet the Cast
If you want to be fancy about it, you might say Jim Smiley is a man addicted to gambling. Or maybe he just likes to compete. Either way, he’ll bet on just about anything, including the long s...
Though we know very little about the stranger, we do know that he isn’t impressed by Dan’l Webster and keeps insisting that he looks like an ordinary frog to him. We also know that he r...
Though Simon Wheeler is bald and lazy, and seems simple, he may be cleverer than he looks. He’s certainly very aggressive in getting the narrator to listen to him. He uses tactics that sound...
The narrator is an educated man from the East who is traveling west. Along the way, he does a friend a favor by going to Angel’s mining camp to ask about the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley. Instead...
Dan’l Webster is the frog that Smiley educates to jump higher, faster, and farther than any other frog. He beats all the competition until the day that the stranger fills him with quail shot,...
Andrew Jackson was the name of the dog that Jim Smiley had. To anyone but Smiley, it looked like Andrew wasn’t worth much. However, it turned out he always won dog fights. Andrew Jackson won...
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
In A Nutshell
Written in 1865, this short story by Mark Twain was an overnight success and reprinted all over the country. In fact, this is the piece of writing that launched Mark Twain into fame ( read more). "The Celebrated Jumping Frog" focuses on a narrator from the East suffering through a Western man's tall tale about a jumping frog. The story was made into an opera and performed at Indiana University in 1950. Today, the city of Angel's Camp, California, the setting for this short story, calls itself the "Home of the Jumping Frog."
Why Should I Care?
First things first,...
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