The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How does Mark Twain use dialogue to add credibility to this story?

    Wheeler’s disjointed and rambling, albeit entertaining, style of speech, coupled with local slang make “The Jumping Frog” a truly classic tall-tale. His over the top descriptions, colorful imagery, and larger than life characters all work to make his story come to life.

  2. 2

    How does the concept of a “hostage audience” make this story more entertaining?

    Wheeler’s delivery would arguably be amusing enough on its own, but the knowledge that the Narrator is itching to get away makes every rambling sentence of the story more amusing. From the moment the story begins, Wheeler’s dialogue is completely unbroken until he is called away, giving one the impression that the Narrator could very well have been trapped in the corner all day.

  3. 3

    How does Twain keep our knowledge of certain characters limited?

    One of the entertaining elements of a tall-tale is that one never knows what is factual and what has been exaggerated. Our knowledge of Jim Smiley, his animals, the jumping frog, and the stranger is totally limited to Wheeler, who is almost certainly stretching the truth in certain instances. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the entire story of the jumping frog is a complete fabrication.

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