Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters

Is there a chance that the parallel would be with the biblical story of Joseph? I don't imagine Sara Gruen got the names or stories mixed up, but I always have!
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters


rkubie wrote:
Is there a chance that the parallel would be with the biblical story of Joseph? I don't imagine Sara Gruen got the names or stories mixed up, but I always have!


Considering the question is her own lol and in her own book and on her websites of questions to ponder. I would think she would know who she is comparing to, but other than using that one line, that one verse of using a stone for a pillow and using the same name, I havent the vaguest idea what the heck she is talking about with that one LOL!
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Contributor
Sappho
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-21-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Adult Children's means of living, biblical Jacob

Hi Laura, and all,
Thanks for picking up and playing with my speculation re: young-age decisions. I firmly believe "coming of age" novels greet this subject for teens very adequately, however, Sara Gruen is writing for us as adults: we have the luxury of looking back at our own lives. Now get my drift: Looking "back" at your own life, when exactly did you make a very life changing decision? In fact when did you have to make your first very own decision? (You wouldn't have to answer me, here,per say.)

I think all of our answers would lie around the same age, give or take- some people have crises arise earlier, others later, in youth. But, no matter what your personal story, and it will be individual, personal, and have everything to do with the same types of situations that occurred for Jacob- something to do with family, something to do with finances, something to do with conflict over accepted (up until then) beliefs, childlike morals, values, everyday behaviors- and it will have something to do with the Outside World, as it exists for you at that moment in Real Time, no matter what, you will have made your own choices at that moment, no one else.

What I mean by a crisis, is that no matter what, we all choose at that moment, even if it is to "obey" our parents and attend college, not drink and study at the same time, and try to graduate as a lawyer or doctor!

Or it could be to become a waitress at the local restaurant, and wait for that golden opportunity to come our way.

Or it could be to join the military, serve the country, or (in the case of which time you lived, choose to run away to Canada for the duration of the war)

We are not victims of circumstance: we are masters of this, although we only see this when we look back. Jacob chose to jump the train: he felt, however, that he had no other option.

Throughout the story, we see Jacob make other such seemingly minor "decisions." I looked very closely at these, because I particularly liked the relationships Jacob develops with each character, and what he "learns" from each one of them is told through the interactions. (Good and Evil, and sort of everything in between perhaps a parallel to the biblical Jacob's evolving circumstances.)

My point is that Jacob's story begins with his leap of faith.

My thrust at the end discussion will be...does Jacob remain equal to this mighty task of having faith, throughout his life, what changes adjustments did he have to make because of his own choice to remain with the circus (and not jump ship, so to speak, not give up, once he had discovered that indeed he had met his destiny in the person of Marlena?) Will he become as he matures, up to the task (and this is the relationship Sara Gruen gives us which seems to me to truly parallel the biblical Jacob's life-)to remain true to his family values, his first faith, his own belief in God and his form of religion, and to his devout love for one woman?)

Thats all- Thanks for listening to my idiosyncratic way of reading. Sometimes, I just make up my own way of explaining what my mind seems to be poking me with! So I hope you won't mind. I choose to say it aloud, so another person might just give me in another, or more precise understanding, not because what I say is right or wrong.
I really can not read as well "literally," as i can broadly, so I am really enjoying the details some of you have divested. I am really learning a lot more, about this book.
(And it is fun to go read the Bible, just for the grandeur of that language, but it looks like we'd have to open another Book Club for that one.)
My advice on that subject: The name-Jacob- does mean something, as a representation, and since Jacob is a biblical entity, (not real, in that sense, for this is a novel form: the author refers to this story, or makes allusions, just for our fun, not as a literal interpretation)Therefore, play with it, in your reading, but don't get caught up and entangled. It is the whole stream of both Jacobs' lives that is the metaphor, not the scenery along the way!

All in all, don't argue the subject, (meaning whether or not Gruen's "Jacob" fits perfectly with Bible's "Jacob" just think about it-for a few years!

Colleen
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adult Children's means of living, biblical Jacob

Sappho, who are you?? what the?? I dont see that you are a mod or editor or anything but this is the second post that I felt like I should be saying , yes ma'am! and would you like that double spaced and type written?? I got that from one of your first posts where you told us:
"What I want us to comment upon now is.." and I just thought,well you might WANT us to now, but hey, its going good, some will some wont, its nothing I have a comment on so I just kinda moved on. Now we get these instructions:

"Thanks for picking up and playing with my speculation re: young-age decisions."
Now get my drift: Looking "back" at your own life, when exactly did you make a very life changing decision? In fact when did you have to make your first very own decision?"

"My thrust at the end discussion will be.."

"(And it is fun to go read the Bible, just for the grandeur of that language, but it looks like we'd have to open another Book Club for that one.)
"My advice on that subject:"
"Therefore, play with it, in your reading, but don't get caught up and entangled.
All in all, don't argue the subject,"

I am not writing an essay on my life and as far as picking up your ideas here and going with it, hey, the thread was here, the discussions were here, and they bounce around to whatever, which is pretty cool. I checked and you didn't start this thead. Your thrust at the end fo the discussion will be.....lets see, hmm, maybe something very different than mine and that too is cool but I am not doing an essay here following some guidelines, its an open bookclub! Now as far as the bible part goes, we rather enjoyed our delving into it and what it could mean or what the heck was she refering too, so if we can keep up a convo on it, no, its not for another bookclub when the question is in the book about this one, its for this bookclub and who is tangled up in it? Also, we can "debate" the subject all we want if we are civil and there is not ONE thing bout it that those of us talking about it were not.

Now, as for me, lol I am going to read on to other threads and see whats up and what I "want" to get in on, sorry, I am not in your classroom.

Oh and P.S. I read the bible for more than fun or the language too, and it appears Sara was wanting us to know about the similarities of the actual persons and stories too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters

Sappho, after reading your posts, I feel my head spinning. I read your post three times, and I'm sorry, I couldn't make head or tails out of your post.

I think this is one of the best discussions going, and I certainly welcome your insights.

Maybe it's just me....

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters


IBIS wrote:
Sappho, after reading your posts, I feel my head spinning. I read your post three times, and I'm sorry, I couldn't make head or tails out of your post.

I think this is one of the best discussions going, and I certainly welcome your insights.

Maybe it's just me....

IBIS


IBIS, did the syllabus, or test questions confuse you a bit too? lol, you are not alone. Hey ,you did better than I did, I was wondering so much what was being said that then I just skimmed parts. Aint no way I am trying to read that three times. :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ In the beginning, there was Genesis lol


Peppermill wrote:
Would somebody help me understand the parallels with the Biblical Jacob?

Thanks!


Ok, remember this question that we just decided is pretty out there? Here is part of the deal, if any 4 of you can name the full names of the major characters in the book, I can tell you "from the horses mouth" what one of the comparisions to the biblical story is lol. You are not going to believe this when you hear it. I dont remember their full names! (Well I know them NOW) But you have to know them. lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Frequent Contributor
cindersue
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎04-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Adult Children's means of living, biblical Jacob

Hi Laura, and all,
Thanks for picking up and playing with my speculation re: young-age decisions. I firmly believe "coming of age" novels greet this subject for teens very adequately, however, Sara Gruen is writing for us as adults: we have the luxury of looking back at our own lives. Now get my drift: Looking "back" at your own life, when exactly did you make a very life changing decision? In fact when did you have to make your first very own decision? (You wouldn't have to answer me, here,per say.)
etc. .... etc .... etc ....

Hun? lol I'm a bit DAC at this time. lol :smileywink: I just like to read. How deep are we going with this? :smileywink:
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ In the beginning, there was Genesis lol

[ Edited ]
Okay, Vivian, you've got my attention..... I don't have the book in front of me. But I don't remember anyone's full names. Do you mean the animals as well as the human characters? I'll go find the book and find the names. Just give me a minute....

On another tangent, one remote reference to Genesis that I can think of is:

Jacob lies with his head on a flat stone, and dreams of wrestling with a stranger (who could either be an angel or God himself). Jacob wins the wrestling match, and gets the new name of Israel.

Old Jacob in the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS spends a large portion of the novel lying in bed and dreaming of his youthful summer in the circus. He fights with August and wins. That's it?

For the life of me, I can't figure out a more pertinent biblical reference. Maybe I'm overanalyzing this?

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-05-2007 04:23 AM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ In the beginning, there was Genesis lol



IBIS wrote:
Okay, Vivian, you've got my attention..... I don't have the book in front of me. But I don't remember anyone's full names. Do you mean the animals as well as the human characters? I'll go find the book and find the names. Just give me a minute....

On another tangent, one remote reference to Genesis that I can think of is:

Jacob lies with his head on a flat stone, and dreams of wrestling with a stranger (who could either be an angel or God himself). Jacob wins the wrestling match, and gets the new name of Israel.

Old Jacob in the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS spends a large portion of the novel lying in bed and dreaming of his youthful summer in the circus. He fights with August and wins. That's it?

For the life of me, I can't figure out a more pertinent biblical reference. Maybe I'm overanalyzing this?

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 12-05-2007 04:23 AM


Quite frankly IBIS, once I found out what it is, from the author, I am still going, oh brother, talk about a reach, and we are suppose to know that? LOL but, no just find the last names of for example, Jacob, Marlena, Catherine and Uncle Al, that will be enough lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adult Children's means of living, biblical Jacob


cindersue wrote:
Hi Laura, and all,
Thanks for picking up and playing with my speculation re: young-age decisions. I firmly believe "coming of age" novels greet this subject for teens very adequately, however, Sara Gruen is writing for us as adults: we have the luxury of looking back at our own lives. Now get my drift: Looking "back" at your own life, when exactly did you make a very life changing decision? In fact when did you have to make your first very own decision? (You wouldn't have to answer me, here,per say.)
etc. .... etc .... etc ....

Hun? lol I'm a bit DAC at this time. lol :smileywink: I just like to read. How deep are we going with this? :smileywink:


Didnt know what you were in for did ya cindersue LOL. "Now, looking back on your own life, when did you...." LOLOL, are you laying back on the couch now? See, free psycho-analytical counseling is part of this..so do it, do it NOW!! hehehe I could think of a few, when did you first questions that I would love to ask you but I won't lol. :smileywink: Just enjoy the book, the company here and the discussions you want to have and dont worry about it lol. Also, if I may direct your attention to the introductory section of our little club, we have two "literary critics" their words, not mine, who say they can be very tough on writers and think the prologue was gimmicky and lacks intergrity, so you may want to check out that room, or not lol. Me thinks one of them at least, is a teenager actually lol. It's allll illusions in this club so hang on lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adult Children's means of living, biblical Jacob

Cindersue, what's DAC mean?

And I agree with you, just how deep do we want to go into a novel which is supposed to be a good fun read? Just reading Sappho's post made me want to take an aspirin!

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Adult Children's means of living, biblical Jacob


IBIS wrote:
Cindersue, what's DAC mean?

And I agree with you, just how deep do we want to go into a novel which is supposed to be a good fun read? Just reading Sappho's post made me want to take an aspirin!

IBIS


LOL, if I may interject, DAC means, "dazed and confused" LOL! I think we all got a headache on that one IBIS lol, just don't lay down, thats when she (Sappho) will get ya with those questions lol.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Does posting have unwritten rules?

Hey, guys, if I read this right, Sappho has posted five times! I think we ought to welcome her/him.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Does posting have unwritten rules?


Peppermill wrote:
Hey, guys, if I read this right, Sappho has posted five times! I think we ought to welcome her/him.


Yes, two were instructions to the classroom :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ Biblical Jacob

We were all trying to find biblical parallels from Genesis and WATER.

Vivian, you asked us to list the last names of some the characters in WATER.

Jacob Jankowski
August and Marlena Rosenbluth

In an interview, Sara Gruen said that she made anagrams of some character last names to match up with the Biblical story.

Catherine HALE, Jacob's girlfriend.
HALE is an anagram for LEAH.

Marlena L'ARCHE.
Her last name is an anagram for RACHEL.

In Genesis, Jacob had to work for 7 years to marry Rachel.
Jacob and Marlena worked together in circuses for 7 years before he became a vet for the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

The Biblical Jacob left his Uncle Laban and took some of his lifestock with him.
Jacob and Marlena took Rosie the elephant, the horses and Bobo the chimp from Uncle Al's circus.

There were other parallels that I'm sure I've missed from that interview.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ Biblical Jacob


IBIS wrote:
We were all trying to find biblical parallels from Genesis and WATER.

Vivian, you asked us to list the last names of some the characters in WATER.

Jacob Jankowski
August and Marlena Rosenbluth

In an interview, Sara Gruen said that she made anagrams of some character last names to match up with the Biblical story.

Catherine HALE, Jacob's girlfriend.
HALE is an anagram for LEAH.

Marlena L'ARCHE.
Her last name is an anagram for RACHEL.

In Genesis, Jacob had to work for 7 years to marry Rachel.
Jacob and Marlena worked together in circuses for 7 years before he became a vet for the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

The Biblical Jacob left his Uncle Laban and took some of his lifestock with him.
Jacob and Marlena took Rosie the elephant, the horses and Bobo the chimp from Uncle Al's circus.

There were other parallels that I'm sure I've missed from that interview.

IBIS


Well heck IBIS, you gave away WHY to list the names! I still think she just liked the story in the bible and its all a big stretch. Making anagrams out of the characters last names LOL good grief! And like that would be obvious reading the book. It certainly doesnt make it parallel the story, she just likes the story and thats her little "fun" item. The lifestock is a stretch, big deal, Jacob of the bible had a right to take some of the sheep, so what now, anyone who takes animals with them from somewhere is paralleling the bible story???

You know how we talked about her prologue and was it just a slick gimmick or something on another thread? I thought it was excellent for all the reasons I listed there. But this stuff is just dumb. The only parallels I will grant her to be decent ones, well the sleep on the stone isnt one actually one, she just flat used it from the bible story and admits it. So that leaves on here the working for 7 years, now that one could be considered a real parallel, the rest are just gimmicks to say it does parallel the bible story. I didnt listen to all of her interview after the anagram thing and every one looks at her and says ahh, ok ROFL! I think on this one she would do better to leave out the "biblical parallels" when discussing her book, half of them aren't, the others could be considered parallels for lots of things, and the book doesn't need the idea of that at all for interest, it stands fine on its own. If she was going to go there, it would have been better to me to just say, I love the story of Jacob in the bible, so I took one of the verses and used it and had some fun making anagrams from some of the peoples name. blahhhh LOL :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ Biblical Jacob

Vivian, these parallels are just for fun. They didn't raise (or lower) my appreciation for the book in any measurable way.

The story stands strongly by itself. It didn't need any extra biblical window-dressing.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ Biblical Jacob


IBIS wrote:
Vivian, these parallels are just for fun. They didn't raise (or lower) my appreciation for the book in any measurable way.

The story stands strongly by itself. It didn't need any extra biblical window-dressing.

IBIS


Thats what I mean, I agree with you 100%.It doesn't need it. I think shes just out there for pushing for the parallels. When I first read that question from her, I was like many in here and in her reading group, going what the?? What are you talking about? What you said is exactly what I am getting at, it stands alone without that and to me, she actually diminishes the book as a serious (very good) work of historical fiction, by then asking us to go look for her little self indulgent gimmicks. Hey, its her book and she can do with it what she wants. It didnt lower my appreciation of the book at all, just my interest in hearing her talk about it lol :smileywink:.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters/ Biblical Jacob

Well, Ibis, you do get a prize for giving this to us!

I think the seven years is a good match, and I also think the fact that Jacob takes care of the animals is a good one--and I feel I should have spotted that one! Thanks!
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 1,210 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: