English 9 Short Story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"

English 9 Short Story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"
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  • The scene is set in the mid 1800's, when the narrator's friend asks him to ask a talkative, fat, bald, old man named Simon Wheeler about a man named Reverend Leonidas W. Smiley.
  • The narrator is starting to suspect that Reverend Leonidas W. Smiley isn't a real person, and that his friend is trying to get him to remind Simon Wheeler of the "infamous Jim Smiley" and that Wheeler is going to bore him to death. The narrator even says that if that was his friend's plan, it had already succeeded.
  • The narrator finds Simon Wheeler sleeping in a tavern in a gold mining town called "Angel's Camp."  The town was most likely populated by almost all uneducated men, hoping to strike it big. Wheeler wakes up and the narrator proceeds to tell him that his friend would like to know if he can tell him anything about Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley.   
  • As the narrator expected, Wheeler doesn't know anything about Leonidas W. Smiley. Wheeler then proceeds to back the narrator into a corner and continues to tell the story of Jim Smiley. The narrator is descibing the way that Wheeler is talking in the form of a hyperbole and he over exaggerates how serious he is talking. "He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned the initial sentence."
  • Now the story within a story starts and Wheeler starts to tell the narrator about Jim Smiley, who is the type of person who will bet on anything. Whether it's the underdog or not, he'll bet on it. If someone wouldn't bet with him, he'd switch sides just to get them to agree to bet. 
  • Simon Wheeler then goes on to tell the narrator that Jim Smiley, even though he would bet on either side no matter the probability of him winning, would almost always come on top. He was "uncommon lucky."
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