What are some examples of figurative expresions in Wheeler’s language in "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain?
There is a passage called "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain.
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Twain uses the dialect of rural California to fully characterize Wheeler with local color.
Wheeler uses descriptive language to describe things in a way that uses local color, or dialect representing a region. Since the frog jumping contests takes place in a rural area of the California hills, Wheeler represents a rural mindset. To Wheeler, the contest is an “important manner.”
Wheeler is described as a “good-natured, garrulous” country man. He is a simple man, “fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance.” He “never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key” in which he started. (p. 1)
Wheeler uses idiomatic expressions, or cultural figurative expressions. For example, when he picks up the frog he uses an idiom.
"Why, blame my cats, if he don't weigh five pound!" (p. 4)
The phrase “blame my cats” is figurative. He is not actually blaming any cats for the weight of the frog. Another example is “he was always ready and laying for a chance” (p. 1) meaning waiting and not literally laying, and “he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico” (p. 2).
Wheeler uses unusual adjectives and adverbs, such as “curiosest,” “uncommon lucky,” and “anywhere” (p. 1-2).
Wheeler uses dialect by pronouncing words differently than we would, and Twain writes them as they sound. Examples of this are “solittry,” for solitary, “reg'lar” for regular, and “feller'd” for feller would (p. 1-2).
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