“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is a famous short story by Mark Twain that was considered to be the best creation of humoristic literature written in America by the moment of its first publication…
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“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is a famous short story by Mark Twain that was considered to be the best creation of humoristic literature written in America by the moment of its first publication. This story made Mark Twain famous, because it already reflected his unique humor that had been formed gradually in his previous stories. The humor of Mark Twain represents unique and at the same time real American fictional phenomenon.
Twain became uninterested in traditional American humor that attracted the attention of the people, who were not too unpretentious in literature. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is also full of grotesque, but it is also characterized by the skill to represent not only the funny episode, but the way the things are in whole world. This skill was developed by Mark Twain in every story that allowed him to become the best humorist of America. He tried to make his humorist story very much alike the common short story. It seemed that he took a common short story and just made it funny. It was necessary that the reader could see in the funny story the real American life described in detail.
The story about the frog described by Twain is rather trustworthy. It was possible to hear it in the native country of Mark Twain and it was even published in newspapers. However, the frog became famous only in the short story by Twain. The hero of the story Jim Smiley is the humoristic embodiment of a typical American man. He is happy and lucky, he is sure that he will always win in his life. He likes to bet forgetting about natural rules of morality. Jim bets if he is sure that he will win, thus he bets everywhere and on everything, even if the things he bets on are not proper for this kind of action “he was always making money on anything that turned up if he could get anybody to try to make money on the other side. And if he could not do that, he would change sides” (Twain). Mark Twain uses grotesque to reflect his thoughts about such kind of attitude towards people. Maybe, there is nothing bad in betting on sport or some events. But it is absolutely immoral to bet on someone’s health or possible death. Twain shows his attitude towards such bets describing the illness of Walker’s wife: “Smiley asked him how was his wife, and he said she was better, thank God. And Smiley, before he thought, says, "Well, Ill risk my money she will not get well”” (Twain). The end of the successful betting was rather predictable. An honest man, who honestly bet over any possible things wanted to have one more successful deal. He honestly trained his frog to jump and wanted to have only honest competitions. Smiley, a rather good guy, who just forgot about some moral principles of humans, met a stranger, who was not so “good and honest”. A stranger proposed a bet to him and kind-hearted Jim decided to help him catch a frog for the competition. He was sure that he will win: “And he was lucky, uncommon lucky. He most always was a winner” (Twain.) While Jim was catching the frog for the stranger, he put lead shot into the famous frog’s mouth. Certainly, the frog could not jump after that and the stranger won the competition: “The new frog jumped. Dan'l just lifted up his body but could not move at all. He was planted like a building. Smiley was very surprised and angry too. But he did not know what the problem was” (Twain). As Jim was a very honest guy, he gave the money to the stranger and was unpleasantly surprised, when found out the truth. Mark Twain created the character of Jim Smiley in order to show the life of people in the society he lived in. Good and wealthy life was the top priority for these people. They wanted to work, have pleasure from their work and be happy earning money. They were good and honest guys and sometimes defenseless before some individuals, who wanted to earn money using dishonest ways. Twain
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