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The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Mark Twain is an author who has many humorous works. Good examples of such stories are The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain introduces a young boy called Huck who is looking for adventure and freedom. The setting of the novel is on the shore of the river Mississippi. Pap, Huck’s drunken father, kidnapped him because he wanted 6000 dollars Huck had been awarded after finding the gold treasure with Tom Sawyer. As a result, Huck escapes using a canoe to the other side of the river Mississippi where he meets Jim, a slave of Miss Watson. Jim is searching for freedom too, and the two boys spend days and nights together to look for freedom.
Jim and Huck travel down the river using a raft and they have adventures during their journey. They end up becoming best friends. Later, as they travel, they come across a house that had a dead man. They steal all what is in that house and go to a wrecked ship so as to travel. Unfortunately, they find murderers in the wrecked ship, and they take away the goods and money the boys had. Later, Jim and Huck separate after their raft crashes but reunite when they start to perform plays. Suddenly they find out that the person who had employed them had stolen other person’s identity. Huck escapes but aims to find his friend Jim who was sold by king, their employer. Jim is found at Tom Sawyer’s aunt, and Tom and he rescue him.
In the book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Mark Twain brings out a story within a story. The author begins the story by recalling the mission he had regarded in Angel’s Camp mining town. The narrator’s friend from the East had requested him to call Simon Wheeler who stayed at Angel’s Camp to ask him about reverend Leonidas Smiley. He finds Mr. Wheeler in a local pub, and when he mentions the name of the reverend, Wheeler takes him to a corner. Mr. Wheeler claims that he does not know Leonidas Smiley and starts to narrate a tale of another character called Jim Smiley. He narrates that Jim was a gambler in that Angel’s Camp, that he could bet on whatever thing, even when he had to alter sides to get the bet. However, whichever side he took, Jim always ended up being the winner. Jim could also use his animals to bet, for instance, he first used a horse that he had named Nag since she appeared to be in poor health.
The horse won the race, and Jim decides to use a dog. After going to a full action fight, it gave up the fight and, unfortunately, died. Smiley later uses a frog that he had trained to do somersaults, jump and catch flies. The ability of the frog to jump became famous in the area, and one day a stranger asked for a frog contest, but Jim lost after the stranger tricked him. Simon Wheeler later goes to the yard after he is called and the narrator gets an opportunity to escape from boredom and comes out of the corner. Later Simon re-enters the pub to narrate about Smiley’s one-eyed cow, but the narrator stops him and leaves the pub.
These two stories have both similarities and differences concerning the manner how Mark Twain uses humor. Humor is a way in which the author uses words or actions of the characters to create amusements or laugher to the reader. Speaking about the similarities, Mark uses the characters to bring out his humorous tone in the story. For instance, in the story The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses Huckleberry Finn to bring out the humor. This humor is evident within the action and words of this character. Twain puts his humorous word in the mouth of Huck. He also uses Huckleberry’s tale as a tool to satirize and evaluate his society.
Twain also satirizes the religion to bring out humor when he talks about the widow’s plan to educate Huck using the stories from the Bible. When the widow tells Huck that Moses had died, the author gives his reaction by saying:
“But by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I did not care no more about him; because I do not take stock in dead people” (Twain 71).
In the story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, the author also uses characters to bring out humor. The characters have humorous traits, for instance, Jim Smiley is portrayed to have a greedy character whereby he bet on anything in order to attain it. With this greedy character, the author used Jim to describe how he approached humorous acts such as frog jumping contest and one-eyed cow to bet. For instance, when Smiley’s dog was defeated in the fight context, the writer says:
“He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that had not no hind legs for him to take bolt of, which was his main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece, and laid down, and died" (Twain 20).
As for the differences, The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn uses satire to bring out humor. The author uses religious satire once he portrays the Shepherd’s sons and the Granger fords. They are two neighboring families fighting and killing one another, yet they share steam boat landing. When asked what the reason was, the son of Grander gives humorously answers:
“It started years ago, along there. There was trouble ‘bout something and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the lawsuit when one of the men, and so he got up and shot the man won the suit-which he would naturally do, of course” (Twain 171).
On the other hand, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County uses irony to bring out humor. The narrator is connecting this story with the reality whereby he uses choosen word that show how simple and disinteresting westerners are. For instance, the narrator portrays connection humorously when he says:
“Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which follows this paragraph” (Twain 97).
In conclusion, it is evident that Mark Twain’s stories are humorous, and this makes them appealing to his readers. The humor also helps in expressing things that happen today; hence, these stories help improve peoples’ life.