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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County


by Mark Twain

Dan’l Webster

Character Analysis

Dan’l Webster is the frog that Smiley educates to jump higher, faster, and farther than any other frog. He beats all the competition until the day that the stranger fills him with quail shot, immobilizing him. Smiley picks him Dan'l, and he weighs about five pounds. Then he burps out some of the quail shot, which clues Smiley in to what just happened.

If you lived in the 19th century and read the name "Dan’l Webster," you would obviously think of the famous senator and Secretary of State, Daniel Webster, a lawyer and orator who believed strongly in the cause of American nationalism. Though he tried running for the president of the United States, he lost – and tried again later in his life. As Secretary of State, he advocated for a strict enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act in order to preserve the union. Though Webster’s political history is interesting and can be linked thematically to the frog Dan’l Webster’s short stint as a competitor, it isn’t possible to draw exact parallels between the frog and the man.

Dan’l Webster Timeline