The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain

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A Competition of Wits According to Mark Twain, “A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.” Throughout literary history, the reoccurring theme of a shady character performing immoral, habitual actions is no new topic. These vial characters entertain readers by their confident persona and their desire to win. The literary pieces that include this genre of character are especially prominent entering the 19th century, as humor and deception become key components of literature. Mark Twain, one of the most distinguished American authors in the 19th century, made his living by writing “light, humorous verse, but evolved this literature into a chronicler of the vanities, hypocrisies and murderous acts of mankind.” The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, written by Mark Twain, focuses on a narrator from the east suffering through a Westerner’s tale about a jumping frog as the author attempts to entertain the reader through its oddities in the short story, its humorous tall tale of satire, and its desire to inform the reader of East versus West stereotypes. First, Mark Twain uses educated diction and obscure descriptions of Simon Wheeler in an attempt to entertain the general public reading the newspaper “The Saturday,” the newspaper where Mark Twain published his original version of his short story. To begin, Mark Twain uses the character of Jim Smiley to interest the reader and keep them hooked at the obscure personality of Mr. Smiley and his frog. Jim Smiley, a man addicted to gambling and competition, fools others through deception and false manipulations and gains the reader’s attention through his dedication to win and compete. Through clever manipulation of words, Jim downplays the skill of his... ... middle of paper ... ...cting characters that are both humorous and mischievous. Although this genre of “the shady character” and the character’s immoral, habitual actions are not new to literature, they begin to represent a new theme of American literature beginning around the late 18th century. Works Cited "Mark Twain Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. . "Mark Twain." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. . "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County - Mark Twain - AlbaLearning Audiolibros Y Libros." The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County - Mark Twain - AlbaLearning Audiolibros Y Libros. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. .
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