Astonishing, touching, and humorous Water for Elephants is that exceptional tale with an account so riveting, one is unwilling to turn it down; with characters so appealing, they persist to survive long even after the final episode has been read; with a humanity situated in various forms of conjecture, a world so authentic, one begins to inhale its air.
The novel talks about Jacob Jankowski’s, a ninety years of age man, memoirs of his past – reminiscences of himself as a teenager, thrown by fortune onto a wobbly train that was residence to the “Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth;” recollections of a world packed with jesters and freaks, with marvel and sting and fury and ardor; a world with its own slender, absurd rules, its own culture, and its own means of bereavement.
Jacob sees the world of circus as both deliverance and a nightmare.
All throughout the story, it depicts how the world of circus is structured as well as the different attitudes and personalities portrayed by the characters like Marlena the start of the equestrian act, and Rosie the elephant.
The novel also uses the theme of the Great Depression which is a predominant phenomenon during the making of the novel which complements the novel by inflicting more conflicts and complications on the part of the characters, especially on the protagonist – they are still lucky because they have their jobs given the decline of economy.
The main theme of the novel is still all about survival. All needs to and must survive at all cost. The only things which motivate them to continue and fight are love and trust; that despite all the odds, Marlena loves the circus boss, and Rosie, though she seems to be unable to do the instructions given to her, the circus still trust her potentialities to entertain and amaze the audience.
Gruen, S. (2007). Water for Elephants: A Novel. Algonquin Books.