Literary Analysis of Stephen Leacock’s “The Speculation of Jefferson Thorpe”


The framework of `Mariposa’

  1. Write a literary analysis of a short story with arguments and support of your choice.
  2. Use the correct essay structure as outlined in the course material.
  3. Use academic dictionaries exactly as instructed in the course material.

The article aims to find out how Stephen Leacock used a particular framework to enhance the essence of his short story, “The Speculation of Jefferson Thorpe”, published in an anthology of stories. short titled Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (Eckert 202). The article chooses to detail how the small town setting is at the heart of the stories, especially the one mentioned above.

The fictional town where the story revolves around Thorpe’s little barbershop is called Mariposa. The city is said to lie on the shores of the famous Lake Wissanotti. Although the city is not real from the church, the maple trees of the hotel mentioned in the story do exist (Gonçalves). Therefore, the depiction of the city scene in the story not only plays a big role in the construction of the structure, but also helps to show the integrity and realism of a small city. The characters he has created through his vision are almost real and possess identities that closely resemble that of a small-towner. The character’s flaws and flaws are portrayed in a way that evokes amusement and pity that eventually translates into affection for the character. The narrator shows that this place is extremely important by calling it the “heart of the storm” and the “center of gravity” of all chaos. The barbershop in the story became the center of attraction because the barber, Jefferson Thorpe, as the owner of the salon began to speculate in the mining business (Gordon 40). In this story, everyone lost their mind and went crazy because of the greed of mining stocks.

In the midst of all this chaos, Thorpe manages to make a lot of money by staying where he is. With his stubborn gesture, he did not let go of a part of the mining stock of Sao Phuong Bac mine. Even if you are rich, the sooner you get rich, the more opportunities you will lose. He invested in the wrong place and lost his entire fortune in a scam. From this incident, it is clear that the image and general impression of a small town that has been attempted to convey through history could have been destroyed if this barber had become rich and remained so. So the clever storytelling technique used in the story shows how the fate of a small town determines the fate of its people. The story begins with the barbershop not being enough for Thorpe to raise the money he needs.

Therefore, he needs another way to check to get a large amount of money. The story is about how the locals act like puppets in the hands of the city. Cities, even smaller in scale, have no restraint in controlling people’s lives. Thorpe had a chance to make money and also lost it. It shows how, without understanding that he is being tricked in the whole context, he thinks he is being taken advantage of (Kiedrowski). However, it turns out that he was wrong at the end of the story when he confirmed his destiny as one of those small-towners. This character symbolizes both honesty and madness. He became a victim of fate that gave him an ultimatum.

Thus, we can conclude that the story is set in a small town that does not let its inhabitants exceed what is expected of them without even knowing it. The story shows the limitations, honesty and innocence of the characters depicted in the setting.


Eckert, Kenneth. ““How Strange Life is!”: The Performative Narrator and Chaucerian Similarities in Steven Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.” (2019): 199-216.

Gonçalves, Davi Silva. “” Moving and changing in mariposa”: a literary analysis and infidel translation of humour in Leacock’s sunshine sketches.” (2017).

Gordon, Jon. “Comic Heroes and Green Tories: Stephen Leacock and Thomas King Creating Ethical Space on Uncommon Ground.” ESC: English Studies in Canada 43.1 (2017): 21-43.

Kiedrowski, Jonas F. The Revolution Will Not Be Satirised: The Revolutionary Potential of Stephen Leacock’s Satire. Diss. University of Saskatchewan, 2019.

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