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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County


by Mark Twain

The Narrator

Character Analysis

The narrator is an educated man from the East who is traveling west. Along the way, he does a friend a favor by going to Angel’s mining camp to ask about the Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley. Instead of finding the information he is looking for, he is forced to endure Wheeler's long-winded tall tale about Jim Smiley, a man who loved gambling and who always won, at least until the day he was cheated. Though the narrator is good-natured about it, he escapes as soon as he can, thinking to himself that there wasn’t much point listening to such a tedious story that has nothing to do with the Rev. Smiley. In fact, at the beginning of the story we learn that the narrator is suspicious is of his friend. He thinks maybe his friend was playing a trick on him so that he would have to listen to Wheeler’s endless stories. This, of course, raises some questions about our dear narrator’s judgment. If he doesn’t trust his friend, why are they friends? Is it just a good-natured trick, like a prank? Also, the narrator doesn’t seem to have a lot of patience or good manners – when Wheeler starts on his last story, the narrator gets frustrated and rushes out, rather than finding a way to exit politely.

The Narrator Timeline