The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Vernacular Realism in Twain Works

Samuel Longhorn Clemens, under the pseudonym Mark Twain, uses southwestern dialects and local vernaculars to create realistic characters that accurately reflect the people and familiar scenes of mid-nineteenth century Southern American life. In the stories “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and “The Mysterious Stranger” Twain uses dialect and the local vernacular as a powerful instrument for deflating hypocrisy and pretension. Out of respect for the simple things, Twain chooses a plain style of clear writings that incorporates the most prevalent dialect and most readily understood style of speaking common to the South.

Dialect is one of the elements of local color that Twain is famous for incorporating into his writings in the name of realism. Local color involves not only the language of an area but also the clothes, customs, and traditions of a particular region. Twain is famous for using the aspects of local color to lend a realistic air to his characters, making the reader feel that they can identify where the characters are from and how they must be thinking and feeling. In addition to the Southern dialect, Twain also incorporates the voice of the East, the voice of education, a symbol for the civilized yet...

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