Water for Elephants

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by deliaeppel
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Water for Elephants

Chapters 6-10 Jacob goes on to examine Marlena’s horse SIlver Star. He sees that the heal is very damaged which is a symptom of a terminating disease: “If this horse keeps working, his coffin bone will rotate until it punctures its soles, and then you’ll lose him”(74).The horse is in a lot of pain, however August ignores this and urges everyone to keep going no matter what. Jacob realizes that Marlena is August’s wife. Jacob is later invited to have dinner with the two. Unfortunately, Jacob begins to see August’s angry, sloppy, and drunk side later in the night. August is practically throwing himself onto Marlena at this point, who is clearly uncomfortable. The following morning, Jacob goes to check on Silver Star with Marlena. They both agree that it is the best choice to put him down, despite how devastated they knew they would feel afterward. Days later they have traveled to a new circus site. Jacob begins to argue with August that there is not enough food and water for the horses, but he ignores him anyway. After a lot of arguing, they are blessed with a new member of the circus, Rosie, an elephant. Rosie was chosen to be ridden by Marlena in the circus’s new star act.

Chapters 1-5At the start of the book Jacob is the narrative. He is a 90 year old man in a nursing home. He has a deep resentment towards being in a home.Next, the story goes back to the past when he was attending Cornell to pursue a veterinary career, like his father. This all came tragically to an end when he was pulled aside from the classroom to be told his parents were killed in a car crash. The money in the will was too measly, due to the fact that his dad was very generous in his practice to those who couldn't afford it. He returns to his hometown, which then leads to him wandering along a forest at night. He joins a train and meets a whole new group of people. One of them is named Camel and he offers him a job to join the circus of the Benzini Brothers. When he gets there he is mesmerized by a beautiful woman, Marlena, and her horses. He is lead to the man who is the head of the circus, August, who was impressed that he studied at Cornell to be a vet and hires him.

Chapters 11-15 They begin to travel to Chicago for their next show. Everyone is excited, especially Jacob, until a very quick twist occurs when they pass several slaughter houses, which naturally, deeply disturbs Jacob considering his love for animals. Since they arrived early, August invited Jacob to another meal at a club. August and Marlena are the first to dance. Later on Marlena also dances with Jacob, which makes August furious: “August is staring with his arms crossed, seething” (152). Police stormed the scene, because at this time the prohibition on alcohol was in order. Everyone began to flee. Jacob and Marlena ended up alone together in close proximity.Jacob kisses her and they both enjoy it, but Marlena feels guilty and runs away telling him to not follow: “A moment later she softens...then she yanks away, taking several steps backward and staring at me with stricken eyes” (153). Later on some of the circus people are becoming frustrated with Rosie’s progress. Jacob thinks that there is something off about it all. One night Rosie runs off, but Marlena plays it off like its part of the show. August later decides to punish Rosie horribly with the hook leaving bleeding gashes all over her. Camel is aging and Jacob knows that the circus won’t do anything to help try and recover his health. They discover that Camel was unknowingly drinking contaminated alcohol. Rosie begins stealing lemonade with her trunk. While others find this charming, August was angry and began to punish Rosie again, which was totally against Marlena’s protest. Marlena was devastated and Jacob had to comfort her.

Chapters 16-20 Marlena discusses her past with Jacob and how she joined the circus. When she was a teen her parents tried to arrange a marriage for her. She confessed that when she first met August she was swept off her feet, so she agreed to run off with him and join the circus. It used to be a happy memory for her, but now it is a bit clouded, due to her current relationship conditions with her often angry husband. She begins crying and confesses that she wishes she could be with Jacob, but sadly can not. Jacob left to go get some liquor in attempts to drunken Rosie and ease her pain that August caused. He speaks in Polish and realizes that Rosie responds to this. As a result he trains Rosie in Polish. After a show Jacob and Marlena have moment together discussing how great she did, but August sees this and suspects it all. The three have dinner together that night to celebrate the success of the big show. August passively brings up his suspicions of them having an affair. He begins to get very violent. August hits Marlena, but Jacob intervenes and begins to fight August. He is forced to leave the scene in bad shape. Jacob convinces her to leave him,so they set out to runaway and find a motel room the next morning where they get very intimate.

Chapters 21-25Jacob and Marlena leaving left the circus in horrible shape with less than enthusiastic audiences. Jacob discovers that Marlena is pregnant. The muscle man for the circus crashed into their room and took Jacob out of the room. Marlena is taken back to the show to perform with Rosie. Jacob is warned to stay away, so he hides nearby. Rosie runs out of the tent during a performance. August punishes Rosie once again. Jacob tries to stop him but one of August’s men stops him. Jacob is pretty beat up and wakes up on the train. Jacob decides to take a knife and carry it in his mouth. He walks down the train to August’s and Marlena’s bedroom. He found August asleep and wanted to proceed on his plan to murder him, but backs down out of fear. Jacob later finds out that Camel was thrown off the train last night along with ten others, which often results in death. Jacob walks to where the animals are to see that the animals have been released and our running around like crazy. He was able to find August and Marlena. August was attacking Marlena, trying to strangle her. Yet again, one of August’s men held him back. However Rosie, used her trunk to pick up a stake from the ground and proceeded to kill August in order to save Marlena by slashing the back of his head open. Jacob and Marlena are able to join together. The circus animals were lead back in. They both decided to join the Ringling Brothers Circus and get married. When the story returns to the present day, he speaks out about that he wants to go the circus, but his son Simon and the son of Marlena, isn’t there to take him. DEspite that, he decides to go himself and enjoys it very much, and is invited to speak with the man who let him in after the show. JAcob tells him his whole life story to him. A cop comes in to take him back to the home but the other man plays around it, so that Jacob could stay there at the circus. Jacob happily agrees that he is finally returning home.

Summary Jacob Jankowski is a main character in "Water for Elephants". He goes on as an elderly man to reflect on his life to another man sitting in front of him. He was a young man headed to colledge around the time of 1931. When his only family memebers were the victim to a horrible tradgedy he was forced to find a new way of life. One night he was feeling especially lost, wandering around he decided to a hop a train that, with out knowing, would determine the rest of his lifestyle, a circus train. At the circus there is a twist of love. There is also drama to fight for the best outcome for all the circus people.


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