Mark Twain and American Humor

“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is famous, in part, because it established a uniquely American form of humor. In this famous story, Mark Twain combines the tall-tale, the dialect story, and satire. Here is a resource packet that directs readers’ attention to the literary conventions and devices Twain employs to create humor. The activities associated with the lesson ask class members to research Samuel Clemens’ background, perform the story as a skit, diagram the structure of the story-within-a-story frame, examine the targets of Twain’s humor, and craft their own dialect story. 

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CCSS: Adaptable

  • Links are included to all required resources
  • Packet includes discussion questions and directions for the activities



  • The activity targeting humor requires additional scaffolding for class members to recognize how the humor is generated