Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Water For Elephants Reading Group--Week 2

Brief Synopsis of Prologue-Chapter5:

Prologue: When the story begins we are introduced to a young Jacob in the circus.  We know at that moment that something goes wrong during the circus, but we are not told what.  All we know is that Jacob is still haunted by this event later in life.

Chapter 1:  The story officially begins with Jacob as an old man in a rest home.  The residents of the rest home are anticipating a circus coming to town.  They are anxiously watching as the circus gets set up. Jacob is a feisty old bird, and soon gets into an argument with one of the other residents who claims that he used to work for the circus.  Jacob knows this isn't true because the man claims that he used to carry water for the elephants.  Jacob knows this isn't true because elephants require too much water.  There is no way a man could carry the amount of water that the elephants need.  As the fight ensues, Jacob is scolded by one of the nurses and is taken to his room to finish his dinner.  The ghosts of his past come back to haunt him and he starts to remember.

Chapter 2:  This is where we are introduced to college Jacob.  He is enrolled in his last year and last semester of Cornell Veterinary school.  We learn that he has morals and is a good boy.  While he is sitting in class, he is called out and told that his parents have been in an automobile accident and have died.  Through the course of this chapter we learn that because of the depression his parents have mortgaged their home to pay for his college tuition and the bank needs to take everything they have to pay for their debts.  Jacob is left with nothing. No family,  no Veterinary practice to take over (his father was a vet), and no home to return to after the semester is over at Cornell. Jacob s sitting taking his final exams, when he can't concentrate and due to  the pain and numbness of extreme loss just gets up and leaves the test, knowing that if he does, he won't be able to retake them and will never become a vet.  He leaves and starts walking.  He walks, and walks, and walks until he reaches the edge of town.  He is not sure what he is going to do when a train passes by and he decides to jump on.  He is met by 4 men, one of which wants to throw him off immediately.  They tell him that he has landed on a circus train, and they let him stay the night.

Chapters 3, 4,:  A man named Camel takes Jacob under his wing and decides to try and get him a job on the circus.  Jacob performs odd jobs such as shoveling manure and guarding the Cooch tent.  Which proves to be quite an experience for him, since he has never seen a woman naked (it will be interesting to see if this scene makes into the movie).  During this time, Jacob and Marlena first see each other and can't seem to look away from each other. Finally, Jacob gets in front of Big Al, the ringmaster.  He gives Jacob a shot at dong some veterinary work.  He is to fix Marlena's horse.  If the horse survives he's hired.  If not, he is gone.

Chapter 5:  We are back at the nursing home with Jacob.  The residents are still awaiting the arrival of the circus.  Since Jacob caused a ruckus the other night, they make him see a psychologist and he prescribes medication for him, because they think he is depressed.  Jacob thinks they are just trying to turn him into one of the catatonic residents.

So what are you thinking of the story so far?  Do you like Jacob's character?   Did Jacob losing his parents endear you to him?

During the next week we will be reading Chapters 6-11.  Enjoy!

Trixie & Tess


Dangrdafne said...

I like this book very much. The writing for me is very visual and I like that. Years ago I would only read books with horses in them, so I am glad there are horses in this book LOL!!

I definitely could feel Jacob's pain in losing his parents. I can't imagine in that time period what it must have been like to realize that everything you thought you had was gone. Because not only did he lose his parents but he lost everything since his father didn't protect it. I can't imagine the loss and pain but I can appreciate it.

I like how the guys support each other - you don't always read about men working together and helping each other out but we have seen a few things already that show this. If they remain to be good, who knows but I like it.

I a little wish I had read this before I knew who was going to be in the movie, because I just see them while reading now. I also laughed when I saw there was an Edward in the story and it wasn't Rob.

I am glad you are doing this club because I am sure I would say I was going to read the book but wouldn't but knowing we are going to talk about, I made sure to sit down and read the chapters. So thank you.

Munkee said...

@Dangrdafne--Thanks for cluing me in to this blog and book club. I am totally with you--it made me sit down and read it and I just love it. I also wish I had read it before because I am picturing Rob (and I think I know who Reese will be) and I don't really want to.

A part that resonated with me was the retirement home. Or "old age home" it sounds like. None of us want to end up in that place. Did he never have any family? Old people are often treated so poorly--at least in the U.S. The description makes me very sympathetic to Jacob and I am predicting he is going to bust out of there or something and run away with the circus!

kassiecullen said...

I feel like I already know this story so well since I already read the movie script.. but the book is much better because of all the character development. I feel for Jacob, I lost my Dad two years ago and I know that it is something difficult to get through.

I love that he is not flaunting his accomplishments and takes whatever job they are willing to give him.. but I really want Jacob to stand up for himself and not let Uncle Al and August walk all over him.

I hate the way Jacob is treated at the nursing home. Its really sad the way they drug him instead of asking him what they can help him with bc he is obviously struggling with something.. but it could just be obvious to me bc I'm reading the story lol.

Isabella MARIE Cullen said...

This is my 2nd time reading WFE and wouldn't you know....this this time around I noticed a few things I didn't notice the first time.

I LOVE that Jacob's roommate at Cornell is named Edward! (pg. 15) What a strange coincidence. How did I not notice this the first time???

I love that Jacob is a good boy and so innocent. It's really sweet. I love that Camel is taking care of him.....I guess he's making up for the son who he doesn't talk to anymore. I love the first moment Jacob lays eyes on Marlena - you can just tell there is a connection there. I may add more later, but I'm getting ready to go out.


MiMi said...

Girls, you are way more ambitious that we are!
I did a post sorta like this for our first SAT on RWG and it was hard! :)
But, I love hearing the different points of view...and I'm LOVING the book.
I'm already beyond chapter 11! lol

fran said...

I tried reading this book when it first came out, and I couldn't get into the first chapter, feeling badly for the "Old Jacob" but when I heard Rob was to play the part of young Jacob I immediately wanted to try again. I could easily picture him as this naive young man in the 1930's full of anger, loss, and innocence. I too love the polite, meek Jacob, hoping his life will somehow take a turn for the better. And then to flash forward to him in the nursing home and how his children are neglectful of him further helped sympathize with the young and old Jacob. I imagine he can remember losing his parents as a young man, never again being able to appreciate them, And here he sits in a nursing home alive, yet neglected by seemingly selfish children too busy to involve themselves with their aged dad. How sad those children don't take the time and energy to appreciate their living dad. After reading this I let someone borrow my book, I want to get another copy in order to go back and analyze it with you all, I'm sure there's stuff I missed too, (like Marie noticing Edward roommate!) Nice hearing everyone's point of view.

MamaTink said...

I totally enjoy the character of Jacob in this book. His spunk, his innocence and virtue. I feel Rob could completely fill these shoes and it makes even more anxious to see the movie. The death of Jacob's parents give the character a valid reason for leaving the life he planned and entering into something new and exciting, while still involving his (and his father's) love of animals. I find it so hard to put the book down. I am up to Chapter 15. Bad me.