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Key Themes & Symbols

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Perseverance


There are many examples of perseverance throughout "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." The narrator is the first example. Although he thinks Reverand Smiley is a myth, he not only goes to search for him, but listens to the drawn-out story about another man in hopes of gleaning information for his friend.


Jim Smiley is another example of perseverance. Yes, he seems like a compulsive gambler, but he also has a personality trait that makes him strive to always be the best at thing. His dog must always win. His frog must jump the highest, and he spends months training his animals.


The message of perseverance in this story also carries the message that sometimes people fail because you can't always accomplish your mission, and sometimes the hard work is rewarded.


East vs. West


Mark Twain was a realistic writer and even though "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" seems like a tall tale, there are elements of the time period blended into the story. At the time of publication in 1865, the east was a more refined part of the country whereas the west was still rough and tumble. The narrator seems polite, almost polished in his conversation and the words he chooses. Simon Wheeler and the quotes he used from Jim Smiley are not grammatically correct. The language is different enough; however, there are other differences. In Simon Wheeler's town the buildings are decaying and dilapidated. The eastern part of the country was building factories and thriving to create better places to live. One half of the country was industrializing while the other was mining and performing hard labor.

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