Main Character Of Water For Elephants Term Paper


Sara Gruen is a Canadian citizen, moved to United States in 1999 for a technical writing job. After she got laid off she decided to be a writer. She is an animal lover and has written famous novels Riding Lessons, Flying Changes, Ape House and Water for Elephants. Main characters of Water for Elephants

Jacob Jankowski -- The novel's protagonist. He is a ninety or ninety-three-year-old nursing home resident who spent his life as a veterinarian in a circus during the great depression.

Rosie -- An elephant that Uncle Al bought from another circus. She understands commands only in Polish. She is the target of August's rage.

Marlena -- Beautiful star performer of the circus, who fell in love with Jacob Jankowski.

August -- Head animal trainer and husband of Marlena. He is a charming and brutal both to the humans and animals.

Uncle Al -- The violent and abusive owner of the circus.

Camel -- One of the first people Jacob met when he jumps the train. Camel is instrumental in getting Jacob a job with the circus.

Analysis of the main character of Water for Elephants

Water for elephants is the story of Jacob Jankowski who is a ninety or ninety-three-year-old man who was unhappy with his advanced age and he was living in an assisted-living center as none of his children ready to take care of him. He was not happy with the assisted living center as they did not treat him with respect. This makes his tense and angry. The death of his wife is also contributing for his unhappiness as it was a traumatic event in his life.

When the circus start setting up its tent next to the assisted living center, Jacob heard that one person speaking to a lady in assisted living center saying that he is a water boy for elephants. Then he replied saying that no one can carry water for elephants as they drink...


He was unable to complete his education due to financial problem. His father was in a debt as he is an animal lover and used to treat animals without fees. He lost his house as that was mortgaged for his education loan then he completely lost his emotional and physical balance. He was not able to find some job or place for him to survive as there was a great depression.
One day, he jumps a board of a passing train which was a traveling circus train. He makes friendship with one of the workmen and does some odd jobs in the circus until he gets a chance to speak to the owner Uncle Al. When the owner comes to know that he studied veterinary course his owner asks him to diagnose one of horse in circus and he gets satisfied with the Jacob's work and gives him a job of caretaker for animals.

Jacob becomes friend of August, who is an animal trainer in circus and his wife Marlena, who is a beautiful woman and a circus performer. Within a short time he realizes that Marlena is unhappy with her marriage and finds himself in love with her. Even Marlena loves him but unable to express her love as she was afraid of August.

Owner of the circus buys Rosie, an elephant to the collection of animals from another circus. He was told by the sellers of Rosie that she is too stupid to learn acting. August finds difficult to manage Rosie and beats her to learn acting upon his orders. Jacob feels very sorry about August's behavior with Rosie but unable to do anything for her; he just offers her a favorite drink and speaks to her in polish. Then, he understands that Rosie obeys only the polish commands and that's the reason elephant was…

Sources Used in Documents:


Guen, Sara. "Water for Elephants: a novel." 2007. Algonquin Books.

O'Connor, Anahad. "Always Follow the Elephants: More Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths about our health and the World We Live In." 2009. Macmillian.

Online references:

Gruen, Sara. Web: / Date accessed 15th June 2011.
Chasteen, Patricia. Web: 9th May 2011, Date accessed 15th June 2011.
Robertson, Cynthia K. Web: 18th April 2007. Date accessed 15th June 2011.
Miller, Erin Collazo. Web: 2011, Date accessed 15th June 2011.
Zancharisas, K. Web: Title/forum/Fx2LPKXA2VQG496/Tx3AZ5JRGC5TTTO/1?_encoding=UTF8&asin=0002007770 Zancharisas, K. 15th April 2008. Date accessed 15th June 2011.

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