What  literary element or device in the story can used in a thesis for "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"?Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While his customary satire is present in Mark Twain's short story "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," there is a cloaking of this satire as Twain's narrator is not directly involved.  Instead, the story is related as an epistolary tale.  So, for a thesis about the use of literary devices, you may wish to analyze how Twain's use of the frame story, or epistolary tale, is his clever way of disguising his satire of the American West and the American East by giving the story a sense of authenticity with the reporting of the main narrator.

Another literary device that you could build a thesis around is the use by Twain of hyperbole.  Hyperbole is a figure of speech that involves obvious exaggeration; it greatly helps to advance the satire of Twain's piece by increasing the level of humor as Twain ridicules the stereotypes of the East and the West of the United States.   Here is one example of Twain's use of hyperbole for humorous and satiric effect:

[Wheeler] never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned the initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there was any thing ridiculous or funny about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in finesse.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You may also want to consider Mark Twain's use of colloquialisms and regional dialect in "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Few American stories of any kind at this time in history used the natural language of the region like the characters he created in this tale. Twain's own narration reflects a proper use of English diction; however, when he reverts to Simon Wheeler, Twain uses the vernacular of characters he has met in the American West. Wheeler's colorful dialect is full of shortened words and improper grammar that gives the character and story a feel of authenticity few American writers had been able to establish in the 19th century.

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