Water for Elephants

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by EmilyBlake
Last updated 6 years ago

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Water for Elephants

''Tell me, do you honestly thunk this is the most spectacular show on eart?'' (Gruen 103).

Part One(chapters 1-6) In chapter one we meet our main character Jacob Jankowski in a nursing home. Every few chapters or so the author bounces from Jacob in a nursing home telling his story about his time in the circus, to the actual story he is tellin about when he was young. Jacob is first prompted to run away from home and his college when he is told both his parents have died in a car crash. He has nothing left in his hometown of Norwich and just walks out on his final exam, only to walk for hours upon hours along the train tracks. At this point Jacob has no one and nothing and throws caution to the wind by hopping onto a passing train, which is the Benzini Brothers, Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He starts off in the lower ranks of the circus as a workman gradually meets people who give him jobs and food and a place to stay. People like Camel, Blackie, Cecil are really the first ones to accept him and become somewhat of paraental figures. Jacob does small jobs on his first day at the circus night and tries to lay low. The first time he is approached by Uncle Al, one of the drector figures on the circus, its about the star performer Marlena's horse. Because Jacob was studying to become a veterinarian and the circus is going broke, he is the only one who can help the horse and makes the decision to put Silver Star (the horse) down. Uncle Al putsJacob under August, a performance manager who moves him in with Kinko. By the end of this first part we notice the relationships between August, Jacob and Marlena and the bonds of friendship and deeper connections they all have with each other.

Water for Elephantsby: Sara Gruen

''She is a godess, a queen, and he is just a miserable puddle of remorse'' (Gruen 261).

Part Two(chapters 7-12) We start out this second part of the book with Jacob really starting to build his friendship with Marlena and August. Jacob has been brought onto the circus as the vet. The circus goes though from town to town picking up workers and anmials from past shows that went bankrupt. Kinko, the performer that Jacob rooms with, slowly starts to trust him when he helps his dog and eventually lets JAco call him by is real name, Walter. Later in the story this relationship becomes crutial. In the final parts of this section they are scavenging the remains of The Fox Brothers circus and pick up Rosie, thier elephant. August also somewhat forces the role pf the 'bull man' onto Jacob, so that he is now mostly in charge of their new bull elephant. At this point on the train's jounry across the counrty the circus has a few night stop in Chicago. While here August takes Marlena and Jacob to a facny dinner and dancing sort of place. Because the book mostly takes place in the 1930's this is very in and somewhat illegal because of prohibition. When this party is crashed by the police everyone scatters and Jacob and Marlena become separated from August. Eventually they all find their way back to the train. however August and Jacob's relationship has taken somewhat of a downward turn.

Part Three(chapters 12-18) A few days after the disatrous night in the city the circus is scheduled for a parade and performance. With Marlena as the main performer she rides and performs with Rosie, but this being their first performance not everything goes to plan. Marlena gets injured and Rosie escapes only to wander into someones backyard. A week or so after Marlena's accident Camel becomes sick. Being the man who really accepted Jacob onto the train first, Jacob uses his fathers watch to pay for a doctor that Uncle Al would refuse to pay for. A performer from thier show drops dead and they hold a funeral persession through town. That night at the show Marlena returns and perfoms and amazing show with the horses. While all of this is going on Camel is getting worse and Rosie is causing trouble. She had been distroying things around the site and was costing them more money. To avoid paying it himslef August would take his anger out on Rosie and use her for his own personal gain.They also discover that Rosie responds to Polish in her training so Jacob and August work with her. All in one evening after a show August tells the company that Marlena is pregnant and after all the horrible things that have happened they have a few good shows.

''My brain is like a universe whose gases get thinner and thinner at the edges. But it doesn't dissolve into nothingness'' (Gruen 219).

''I made my bed and now i have to lie in it'' (Gruen 222).

Part Four(chapters 18-25) Coming off of the amzing performance Marlena throws a little party with the elephant and August and Jacob. However it takes a horrible turn when August accuses Marlena of cheating and beats Jacob with the elephant cane for it. August assulted both Jacob and Marlena so that night Marlena sleeps in Jacob's car and she decides shes going to leave August. Her and Jacob leave and she finds a hotel to stay in. Meanwhile Uncle Al finds out about Camel and him being a sort of stowaway in Jacobs car, he says Camel needs ot go and Jacob needs to back off so Marlena and August can work theings out for the good of the group. After being away for a night Jacob and Marlena decide they are going to save Camel. Nothing really works out for Marlena and August and Uncle Al tries to get everyone red lighted. At their final show everything that can go wrong does and no one and hardly anything is left when its over. All the animals had escaped and most of the workmen ran for it. The show is taken over and Marlena and Jacob left with Rosie and a few other animals. The story ends with the 93 year old Jacob in the parking lot of the circus they came to the nursing home, in the parking lot, in the circus, where he was home.


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