Paper: Analysis of the Short Story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain, Also Known as Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog

In Wheeler's tale about Jim Smiley the reader learns of a man who bets upon anything, “dog-fight...cat- fight...chicken-fight...why if there was two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first," and "he most always come out [the] winner'(60). Back East, I'm sure there were gambling men around, but | don't think that it would be as acceptable to gamble on as many things as Jim Smiley did out in California. Being the simple man Wheeler is, his tale of Jim Smiley seemed to not have any rhyme or reason, other than to pass the time required to tell it. Twain it seemed felt as though Jim Smiley's tale was told for a reason. The tale had moral value to it that Wheeler probably did not recognize. When "Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front-yard, and got up to go and see what was wanted,"(63) Twain seized his only opportunity to leave... though Wheeler did say for him to, “Just sit where you are, stranger, and rest easy- | ain't going to be gone a second"(63). It appeared as though Twain had heard one too many moral tales in his lifetime to have to sit through another agonizing ten minutes to hear another tale. In keeping up with his intentions to be kind-hearted, Twain thinks, “that a continuation of the history of the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would [not] be likely to afford me much information concerning the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and so | started away'(63). Proof that even ‘southern gentlemen’ will eventually get fed up with things that do not interest them, Twain curses Jim Smiley, “good-naturedly", of course, and bids Wheeler good-day. The simple social differences between the west coast and the east coast are quite apparent. In the West, gambling, lying, cheating, and rudeness are nothing to waste a second thought upon. But in the East, gambling, lying, cheating, and rudeness are things that are frowned upon....