A picture for the book Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Like Sherwood Anderson's Windesburg, Ohio, Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912) is a sequence of short stories or vignettes about the people that populate a small town.

In Sunshine Sketches the fictional "Little Town" is Mariposa on the shore of Lake Wissanotti. Leacock resisted efforts to tie Mariposa to his time in Orillia, Ontario noting:

"Mariposa is not a real town. On the contrary, it is about seventy or eighty of them. You may find them all the way from Lake Superior to the sea, with the same square streets and the same maple trees and the same churches and hotels."

The work is populated with timeless archetypes of small towns, treated carefully with affection and humour. Modern reader's will be reminded of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon from Prairie Home Companion. The sinking of the steamboat Mariposa Belle -- featuring "one of the smartest pieces of rescue work ever seen on the lake" -- is one of the best-loved and most admired vignettes in Sunshine Sketches

The following characters populate Sunshine Sketches


ONE. The Hostelry of Mr. Smith

TWO. The Speculations of Jefferson Thorpe

THREE. The Marine Excursions of the Knights of Pythias

FOUR. The Ministrations of the Rev. Mr. Drone

FIVE. The Whirlwind Campaign in Mariposa

SIX. The Beacon on the Hill

SEVEN. The Extraordinary Entanglement of Mr. Pupkin

EIGHT. The Fore-ordained Attachment of Zena Pepperleigh and Peter Pupkin

NINE. The Mariposa Bank Mystery

TEN. The Great Election in Missinaba County

ELEVEN. The Candidacy of Mr. Smith

TWELVE. L'Envoi. The Train to Mariposa

Return to the Stephen Leacock library.