Setting In Water For Elephants

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Welcome Aboard: The Importance of the Change of Setting in Water for Elephants Imagine one day you’re sitting in class and get the news that both your parents have died in a car accident. In a split second your life has completely changed, you have no money and nowhere to live. You are completely alone in the world now. Just think, what would you do in this situation? How would you handle this loss? Unfortunately for the main character, Jacob Jankowski, this tragedy actually happened to him. After getting the news, he fled campus and jumped on a traveling circus train, He met a lot of new people, journeyed around to different places , and got plenty of real life experiences while with the circus. In Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen uses setting…show more content…
In the novel, the circus gets a new animal, "You have an elephant. Her name is Rosie, she 's fifty- three and she 's perfectly brilliant" (Gruen 123). The circus was struggling to stay around before Uncle Al got Rosie. Performers and other circus workers weren’t getting paid at all. Once the crew understood Rosie and she started to perform, the circus got an increase in visitors to their shows which rose there income and allowed the show to stay around for a little longer. The depression also was affected Jacob after his parents death and what led him to flee campus and hop on the the circus train. He realized he was left nothing and his father wasn’t taking any money from the community. "Apparently my father has been taking payment in the form of beans and eggs for nearly two years" (Gruen 19). Also, the time period that Water for Elephants took place in is a different period then what we are live in today. Prohibition was happening during the time this novel took place. Many of the workers had to drink cheap alcohol of keep it hidden so they didn’t get in trouble if they got caught. Alcohol was hard to get, so sometimes the bad stuff harmed people. Gruen wrote, “Someone made a big batch of bad jake-put plasticizers in it or something. It went all over the country. One bad bottle, and you’re done for” (183). A worker on the circus, Camel got…show more content…
One of the main themes developed throughout the novel is love. Marlena showed a strong love for all the animals in the circus, especially her own. She first wouldn’t leave Silver Star’s side when she was sick, then fell in love with Rosie when she started to perform with her. It broke her heart to see and hear August abusing the other animals in the circus. The theme of love is also shown when Jacob expresses his love for Marlena. He recalls the first time he kisses her outside the club in Chicago. " I take her by the shoulders and press my mouth to hers. She stiffens and gasps,sucking air from between my lips. A moment later, she softens" (Gruen 153). Another theme the setting helps us to understand is the importance of friendship. A friendship that developed through the novel is Jacob and Walters. When they first started rooming together, Walter hated Jacob. Then he started to open up to him, he told Jacob “You can call me Walter if you want” (Gruen 145). And only his real friends get to call him that. Another friendship that is important in the novel is Jacob and Camels. Camel helped Jacob get a job when he first arrived with the circus, so when Camel got sick Jacob made sure to give a place to hide and food to eat so that he didn’t get thrown off the train. Gruen describes how he spends his days, “Camel spends his days hidden between the trunks, lying on blankets that Walter
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