Water for Elephants

Character Analysis

The character of Jacob Jankowski changed throughout the book Water for Elephants. The book illustrated how Jacob acted during his young years as well as when he was too old to remember his age. When he first starting working the circus as a young man, Jacob didn’t talk back to those who messed with him. Throughout the novel, he finds his voice and stands up for others like Rosie and Marlena. Also as he gets comfortable with the circus, he opens himself up and allows people like Walter and Marlena to get to know him. Yet, as he gets older, Jacob closes himself back up. “In seventy years, I’ve never told a blessed soul”(Gruen 4). As an old man in a nursing home, Jacob never tells anyone about his circus life until the very end of the book. Without a doubt, Jacob Jankowski went through a time of change during his life in Water for Elephants.

Marlena and Rosie!

Setting Analysis

The character of Jacob Jankowski reacted surprisingly to the setting of Water for Elephants. Jacob thoughtlessly jumped a train without thinking of the consequences. “You didn't jump no train, boy. You done jumped the Flying Squadron of the Bezini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth”(Gruen 28). Jacob is completely baffled at the news of joining a circus. He soon fits into the atmosphere when he is taken in as the shows vet. Throughout the book, he learns his place in the setting. At the end of the book however, Jacob worries about his life after the circus as it during the great depression. The setting was all the cities on the train’s route of performances. Jacob no longer has a home or a job when the circus ends and the great depression only makes it worse. All in all, the setting offered some trouble for Jacob Jankowski but he learned his place and lived.

Thematic Analysis

Karma is the most significant theme in Water for Elephants. The author, Sara Gruen, shows many cases of karma taking action throughout the text. Throughout the book, both Uncle Al and August causes harm to others, which then led them into harms way. Uncle Al would silently redlight any unneeded man. He also only cared about the show itself and would do anything to make it amazing. He made an unfair deal with Jacob that he did not fulfill. Karma saw all the evil, unfair situations Uncle Al caused, and left him to die during the big stampede. August also did unspeakable things including beating his wife, Marlena, and Jacob. August also abused Rosie the elephant. He beat her so bad that “the remaining men found Rosie lying on her side, quivering, her foot still chained to a stake”(Gruen 223). Karma caused Rosie to return the favor by shoving that same stake through August’s skull. Obviously, Karma was the biggest theme played throughout the book.

Riley Lennon