The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Imagery

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Imagery


The most important and effective form of imagery in “The Jumping Frog” is most certainly the dialogue. The slang, the Mid-western drawl, and the mispronunciations of Wheeler’s story make the reader believe he/she is hearing this story from the man himself. Dialogue is crucial to a tall-tale, and Twain masters it in this story.

Smiley's dog

Wheeler is nothing if not an effective storyteller. His colorful description of Smiley’s dog provides humorous and vivid imagery for his story. When speaking of Smiley’s dog, he claims his jaw “stuck out like the fo’castle of a steamboat.”

Smiley's horse

When talking about Smiley’s asthmatic horse, Wheeler appeals to the Narrator’s sense of hearing, describing the animal as “raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose.”

The jumping frog

Imagery is vital to a tall-tale, especially when it pertains to details that have obviously been embellished. The characters should seem “larger than life” if the story is to be entertaining. When describing the infamous “jumping frog”, Wheeler claims he would “whirl in the air like a doughnut, turn a summersault or two, and come down flat footed like a cat.” Wheeler’s narration, albeit difficult to believe, is not hard at all to imagine, thanks to his colorful imagery.

Yet another story

One humorous bit of imagery, which can be found at the very end of the story, comes when the Narrator is attempting to make good his escape, just as Wheeler begins launching into another story involving Smiley’s “yellow-eyed cow that didn’t have no tail, only just a short stump like a banana.” At this point, the Narrator flees, but the reader is convinced from only this short intro that Wheeler must have an overabundance of in-depth stories.  

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