The Use of Dialect in the Jumping Frog of Calavares County Essay

1053 Words Feb 26th, 2005 5 Pages
Use of Customs, Dialect and Social Status
In "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"

Mark Twain's "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is a short story with the lesson that what goes around comes around. In this short story, which first appeared in 1856 and his first successful story, Twain uses local customs of the time, dialect, and examples of social status in his story to create a realistic view of the region in which the story takes place. The way that the characters behave is very distinctive. Dialect is also used to give the reader a convincing impression of the setting in "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". The social status of the main characters in this story also was something that
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Twain creates a realistic impression of the lower class social status of the characters. On page 1188 the narrator gives hints that Simon Wheeler is a part of the lower class: "I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp of Angel's, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countence." Simon's low social status is portrayed in this scene as someone who hangs out in a run-down bar in a poor area. "Angel" is a reference to Angel's Camp, a mining settlement in Calaveras County, California. In referring to Smiley's social status and character on page 1189 the narrator says the following:
If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat fight, he bet on it; if there was a chicken fight, he'd bet on it; why if there were two birds setting on a fence, he would bet which one would be the first one to fly first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there re'lar to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the exhorter about here, and so he was too, and a good man.(1189)
This quote shows that Smiley, local character, is a person of low character because he who will bet on anything. To show this Smiley even bets on weather or not a friend's wife will live. "Well, I'll resk two-and-a-half she don't anyway."

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