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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why is the story set in a mining town? What was the historical significance of mining towns to the development of the West, and what kind of people did they attract?
  2. Why do you think Wheeler is so interested in getting people to listen to his tall tales? Does he just like to hear himself talk, or does he think they can learn something from him?
  3. Why is it significant that Smiley’s animals all seem to have no use or value until Smiley finds one? What conclusions can you draw from the fact that despite clear limitations, they almost always win?
  4. What’s the deal with Smiley’s constant gambling? Is he an addict? If not, what satisfaction does it give him? Why do we tend to associate gambling with westerners?

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