Local color or regional literature is fiction and poetry that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region. Influenced by Southwestern and Down East humor, between the Civil War and the end of the nineteenth century this mode of writing became dominant in American literature.

In mainstream realistic works, the author aims to make some statement about what it means to be an American. While local color literature is generally interested in regional/women’s writing [for example], mainstream realism aims for a broader scope. It is self-conscious about its aspirations—thus, it aims to make a “grand” statement on a topic of wide importance. For most realists, this means their works attempts to define the characteristics or the experiences most representative of the average American.

Discussion: Explain [from your perspective] how Mark Twain’s “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” can be representative of both regional/local color realism and mainstream realism at the same time.

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