American Regionalism And Realism

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“They drew upon the sometimes grim realities of everyday life, showing the breakdown of traditional values and the growing plight of the new urban poor. American realists built their plots and characters around people's ordinary, everyday lives” (“American Realism”). This statement explains how writers utilize Regionalism to build the plots of their stories. Regionalism, a main part of the Realism literary movement, was a style of writing that lasted from 1860 to about 1900. This literary movement was a time full of influential writers that used detailed description and characters to show the different regions of the United States. Mark Twain was one of the more popular Regionalist writers. His story, “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”…show more content…
In “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, the issue of gambling is present. Back in this time, many men began moving to mining camps where they believed they could make a “quick buck” by moving to the West and making a fortune. One way they were relatively easily able to make money was by gambling. The struggle of gambling in mining camps is shown through the character of Jim Smiley. Smiley is described as, “he was the curiousest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to on the other side” (Twain 64). Gambling became even more of a serious issue in the West as more camps sprang up and more gamblers came looking to make money. By making Jim Smiley have gambling issue Twain makes the character feel more real and like he belongs in the Old West. Another example of a realistic character in “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is the strange man who cheats Smiley in a bet on how high his frog could jump. The man cheated by, “he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot - filled him pretty near up to his chin - and set him on the floor” (Twain 66). This man, who feeds Smiley’s frog with quail shot in order to slow him down, portrays the untrustworthy and lying people of the West. The people that moved to the West during the gold rush were…show more content…
By adding proper, accurate dialect, authors are able to make the setting more believable to readers, overall enhancing the story. Dialect also helps the story feel more emerged in the culture and setting of a region. In “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” many of the characters in the story speak in strong country/rural accents. An example of the rural dialect present in the story is when Simon Wheeler says, “He ketched a frog one day and took him home and said he cal’lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his backyard and learn that frog to jump” (Twain 65). Twain uses the character Simon Wheeler, the man who tells the tale of Jim Smiley to the narrator, to show the authentic dialect of the West. While he is telling his story, Wheeler uses words like "feller" instead of fellow and “thish-yer” instead of this here. By writing the dialogue this way, Twain makes both his characters and setting feel more believable to readers. Another character that helps to show the dialect of a region is the narrator. In the story, the narrator says, “To me, the spectacle of a man drifting serenely along through such a queer yarn without ever smiling was exquisitely absurd” (Twain 64). The narrator uses Eastern dialect, which readers should be more used to and comfortable with. This contrast of Western and Eastern dialect makes the story feel more authentic and

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