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Rachel-K
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Water for Elephants

What do you make of the title, and why does Jacob get furious at the newcomer, Mr. McGuinty, when he claims to have carried the water for circus elephants? Why would these elderly men behave as if they are going to come to blows over this?
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vivico1
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Re: Water for Elephants


rkubie wrote:
What do you make of the title, and why does Jacob get furious at the newcomer, Mr. McGuinty, when he claims to have carried the water for circus elephants? Why would these elderly men behave as if they are going to come to blows over this?


Jacob knows by the very idea of the statement and how wrong it is that McGinty is lying. This is important to him for two reasons, this is about his life, everything that had meaning to him and McGinty was using a lie about what was real and important to Jacob, to look important or exciting to the others there, especially the old ladies lol. Considering what the circus meant to Jacob and what "elephants" did, it was almost as if McGinty had lied about Jacob's wife and them there are fighting words :smileywink:. Second of all, for both men, a nursing home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world and it has its pecking order too and ways of getting on. Jacob had his table with the ladies, his "place" and McGinty, with this lie, threatened to take it away from him. McGinty is willing to fight for it, first to not be seen as a lier and second, to "get in" a good situation with the ladies and the social order of the home. We all fight for our place in the world and their world has become so limited, this is enough to make a stand about.

As for the title itself. It's a good title. Just as some of us have said we really didn't want to read a circus story probably had preconceived ideas (and probably wrong ones), about circus life. We all have ideas about the circus life and these old romantic ideas of what its like to run off with the circus, but the reality really isn't anymore true than to say, I "carried water for elephants". It fits for this story.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: Water for Elephants


vivico1 wrote:

rkubie wrote:
What do you make of the title, and why does Jacob get furious at the newcomer, Mr. McGuinty, when he claims to have carried the water for circus elephants? Why would these elderly men behave as if they are going to come to blows over this?


Jacob knows by the very idea of the statement and how wrong it is that McGinty is lying. This is important to him for two reasons, this is about his life, everything that had meaning to him and McGinty was using a lie about what was real and important to Jacob, to look important or exciting to the others there, especially the old ladies lol. Considering what the circus meant to Jacob and what "elephants" did, it was almost as if McGinty had lied about Jacob's wife and them there are fighting words :smileywink:. Second of all, for both men, a nursing home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world and it has its pecking order too and ways of getting on. Jacob had his table with the ladies, his "place" and McGinty, with this lie, threatened to take it away from him. McGinty is willing to fight for it, first to not be seen as a lier and second, to "get in" a good situation with the ladies and the social order of the home. We all fight for our place in the world and their world has become so limited, this is enough to make a stand about.

As for the title itself. It's a good title. Just as some of us have said we really didn't want to read a circus story probably had preconceived ideas (and probably wrong ones), about circus life. We all have ideas about the circus life and these old romantic ideas of what its like to run off with the circus, but the reality really isn't anymore true than to say, I "carried water for elephants". It fits for this story.




ROFL, Viv, I just simply thought he was lying because most circus's didn't have elephants. So even if McGinty worked for a circus, it was rare that they had an elephant. Did I miss something? :smileyindifferent: :smileywink:
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vivico1
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Re: Water for Elephants

[ Edited ]

cindersue wrote:

vivico1 wrote:

rkubie wrote:
What do you make of the title, and why does Jacob get furious at the newcomer, Mr. McGuinty, when he claims to have carried the water for circus elephants? Why would these elderly men behave as if they are going to come to blows over this?


Jacob knows by the very idea of the statement and how wrong it is that McGinty is lying. This is important to him for two reasons, this is about his life, everything that had meaning to him and McGinty was using a lie about what was real and important to Jacob, to look important or exciting to the others there, especially the old ladies lol. Considering what the circus meant to Jacob and what "elephants" did, it was almost as if McGinty had lied about Jacob's wife and them there are fighting words :smileywink:. Second of all, for both men, a nursing home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world and it has its pecking order too and ways of getting on. Jacob had his table with the ladies, his "place" and McGinty, with this lie, threatened to take it away from him. McGinty is willing to fight for it, first to not be seen as a lier and second, to "get in" a good situation with the ladies and the social order of the home. We all fight for our place in the world and their world has become so limited, this is enough to make a stand about.

As for the title itself. It's a good title. Just as some of us have said we really didn't want to read a circus story probably had preconceived ideas (and probably wrong ones), about circus life. We all have ideas about the circus life and these old romantic ideas of what its like to run off with the circus, but the reality really isn't anymore true than to say, I "carried water for elephants". It fits for this story.




ROFL, Viv, I just simply thought he was lying because most circus's didn't have elephants. So even if McGinty worked for a circus, it was rare that they had an elephant. Did I miss something? :smileyindifferent: :smileywink:


My understanding is.. just as he says to himself when he is calling McGinty a lier,"do you know how much water an elephant drinks?", you dont carry water to elephants, they drink too much, you take the elephants to the water lol. That's how he knew McGinty has never even been near a circus as a worker or he would have known that.

That's why the title fits to me too, just as that was a misconception or wrong idea, so has been most of us who thought this was "just a circus story" and how interesting could that be lol. :smileywink:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 11-26-2007 12:21 AM

Message Edited by vivico1 on 11-26-2007 12:22 AM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: Water for Elephants



ROFL, Viv, I just simply thought he was lying because most circus's didn't have elephants. So even if McGinty worked for a circus, it was rare that they had an elephant. Did I miss something? :smileyindifferent: :smileywink:

My understanding is.. just as he says to himself when he is calling McGinty a lier,"do you know how much water an elephant drinks?", you dont carry water to elephants, they drink too much, you take the elephants to the water lol. That's how he knew McGinty has never even been near a circus as a worker or he would have known that.

That's why the title fits to me too, just as that was a misconception or wrong idea, so has been most of us who thought this was "just a circus story" and how interesting could that be lol. :smileywink:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 11-26-2007 12:21 AM

Message Edited by vivico1 on 11-26-2007 12:22 AM



hmmmm, I kinda remember reading that part (was I sitting at the table with Jacob? LOL) Wish I had the book to read that part over again. I had a hard time getting into the book in the beginning. Thanks for the explanation. :smileywink:
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vivico1
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Re: Water for Elephants


cindersue wrote:


ROFL, Viv, I just simply thought he was lying because most circus's didn't have elephants. So even if McGinty worked for a circus, it was rare that they had an elephant. Did I miss something? :smileyindifferent: :smileywink:

My understanding is.. just as he says to himself when he is calling McGinty a lier,"do you know how much water an elephant drinks?", you dont carry water to elephants, they drink too much, you take the elephants to the water lol. That's how he knew McGinty has never even been near a circus as a worker or he would have known that.

That's why the title fits to me too, just as that was a misconception or wrong idea, so has been most of us who thought this was "just a circus story" and how interesting could that be lol. :smileywink:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 11-26-2007 12:21 AM

Message Edited by vivico1 on 11-26-2007 12:22 AM



hmmmm, I kinda remember reading that part (was I sitting at the table with Jacob? LOL) Wish I had the book to read that part over again. I had a hard time getting into the book in the beginning. Thanks for the explanation. :smileywink:


This is one book I bought, and since it was out awhile and in paperback now, got it cheap :smileywink: so I can look back and see for this discussion hehe.
Vivian
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fordmg
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Re: Water for Elephants



vivico1 wrote:

rkubie wrote:
What do you make of the title, and why does Jacob get furious at the newcomer, Mr. McGuinty, when he claims to have carried the water for circus elephants? Why would these elderly men behave as if they are going to come to blows over this?


Jacob knows by the very idea of the statement and how wrong it is that McGinty is lying. This is important to him for two reasons, this is about his life, everything that had meaning to him and McGinty was using a lie about what was real and important to Jacob, to look important or exciting to the others there, especially the old ladies lol. Considering what the circus meant to Jacob and what "elephants" did, it was almost as if McGinty had lied about Jacob's wife and them there are fighting words :smileywink:. Second of all, for both men, a nursing home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world and it has its pecking order too and ways of getting on. Jacob had his table with the ladies, his "place" and McGinty, with this lie, threatened to take it away from him. McGinty is willing to fight for it, first to not be seen as a lier and second, to "get in" a good situation with the ladies and the social order of the home. We all fight for our place in the world and their world has become so limited, this is enough to make a stand about.

As for the title itself. It's a good title. Just as some of us have said we really didn't want to read a circus story probably had preconceived ideas (and probably wrong ones), about circus life. We all have ideas about the circus life and these old romantic ideas of what its like to run off with the circus, but the reality really isn't anymore true than to say, I "carried water for elephants". It fits for this story.




Very well put. Thanks,
MG
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Wrighty
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Re: Water for Elephants


vivico1 wrote:
Jacob knows by the very idea of the statement and how wrong it is that McGinty is lying. This is important to him for two reasons, this is about his life, everything that had meaning to him and McGinty was using a lie about what was real and important to Jacob, to look important or exciting to the others there, especially the old ladies lol. Considering what the circus meant to Jacob and what "elephants" did, it was almost as if McGinty had lied about Jacob's wife and them there are fighting words :smileywink:. Second of all, for both men, a nursing home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world and it has its pecking order too and ways of getting on. Jacob had his table with the ladies, his "place" and McGinty, with this lie, threatened to take it away from him. McGinty is willing to fight for it, first to not be seen as a lier and second, to "get in" a good situation with the ladies and the social order of the home. We all fight for our place in the world and their world has become so limited, this is enough to make a stand about.

As for the title itself. It's a good title. Just as some of us have said we really didn't want to read a circus story probably had preconceived ideas (and probably wrong ones), about circus life. We all have ideas about the circus life and these old romantic ideas of what its like to run off with the circus, but the reality really isn't anymore true than to say, I "carried water for elephants". It fits for this story.



It sounds like the men didn't like each other from the first time they met. Jacob feels threatened by McGinty. He doesn't trust lawyers in general and then when he moves in on his table and his friends and starts bragging and telling lies about the circus Jacob can't take it anymore. McGinty is glaring at him across the table and plays the victim when Jacob accuses him of lying. As Viv said, an order has already been established and the newcomer has come in and upset it. While the women welcome him Jacob cannot. The issue is too close to his heart and he feels his very reputation has been challenged.
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Re: Water for Elephants


Wrighty wrote:

vivico1 wrote:
Jacob knows by the very idea of the statement and how wrong it is that McGinty is lying. This is important to him for two reasons, this is about his life, everything that had meaning to him and McGinty was using a lie about what was real and important to Jacob, to look important or exciting to the others there, especially the old ladies lol. Considering what the circus meant to Jacob and what "elephants" did, it was almost as if McGinty had lied about Jacob's wife and them there are fighting words :smileywink:. Second of all, for both men, a nursing home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world and it has its pecking order too and ways of getting on. Jacob had his table with the ladies, his "place" and McGinty, with this lie, threatened to take it away from him. McGinty is willing to fight for it, first to not be seen as a lier and second, to "get in" a good situation with the ladies and the social order of the home. We all fight for our place in the world and their world has become so limited, this is enough to make a stand about.

As for the title itself. It's a good title. Just as some of us have said we really didn't want to read a circus story probably had preconceived ideas (and probably wrong ones), about circus life. We all have ideas about the circus life and these old romantic ideas of what its like to run off with the circus, but the reality really isn't anymore true than to say, I "carried water for elephants". It fits for this story.



It sounds like the men didn't like each other from the first time they met. Jacob feels threatened by McGinty. He doesn't trust lawyers in general and then when he moves in on his table and his friends and starts bragging and telling lies about the circus Jacob can't take it anymore. McGinty is glaring at him across the table and plays the victim when Jacob accuses him of lying. As Viv said, an order has already been established and the newcomer has come in and upset it. While the women welcome him Jacob cannot. The issue is too close to his heart and he feels his very reputation has been challenged.


Kind of a bull elephant trying to protect his place in the herd huh wrighty. :smileywink:
Vivian
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Wrighty
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Re: Water for Elephants


vivico1 wrote:
Kind of a bull elephant trying to protect his place in the herd huh wrighty. :smileywink:



I think the elephants are nicer! :smileyvery-happy:
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ELee
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Re: Water for Elephants

[ Edited ]

rkubie wrote:
What do you make of the title?




Part of a traditional song called "Water for the Elephants"

Circus came to town and to the circus I went
Didn't have a ticket, didn't have a cent
The circus man said to see the show without a cent
You've got to carry water for the elephants

So I carried water for the elephants
Back and forth to the well I went
My feet got sore and my back got bent
But I couldn't fill up the elephants

I said to the man with the standing up collar
I said "Bet two bits the elephants are hollow"...

Message Edited by ELee on 11-29-2007 04:27 PM
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Peppermill
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Re: Water for Elephants


ELee wrote:

rkubie wrote:
What do you make of the title?
Part of a traditional song called "Water for the Elephants"

Circus came to town and to the circus I went
Didn't have a ticket, didn't have a cent
The circus man said to see the show without a cent
You've got to carry water for the elephants

So I carried water for the elephants
Back and forth to the well I went
My feet got sore and my back got bent
But I couldn't fill up the elephants

I said to the man with the standing up collar
I said "Bet two bits the elephants are hollow"...

Neat! THANKS, ELee!
"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
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IBIS
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Re: Water for Elephants

ELee, thank you for the lyrics. I never heard it before, and I'm glad you posted it.

IBIS
IBIS

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Wrighty
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Re: Water for Elephants

ELee, that song is perfect for our discussion. Did you know it already or just happen to come across it? I've never heard of it before.
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vivico1
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Re: Water for Elephants


Wrighty wrote:
ELee, that song is perfect for our discussion. Did you know it already or just happen to come across it? I've never heard of it before.


http://www.danzanes.com/familydance/song_elephants.shtml
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Wrighty
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Re: Water for Elephants


vivico1 wrote:

Wrighty wrote:
ELee, that song is perfect for our discussion. Did you know it already or just happen to come across it? I've never heard of it before.


http://www.danzanes.com/familydance/song_elephants.shtml



Thank you! :smileyhappy:
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Rachel-K
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Re: Water for Elephants

Wonderful, ELee, thanks!



Reading the comments, I also thought of Jacob's initial experience with a lawyer--the one who informed Jacob (as if he were annoyed and bored by doing it) that nothing whatever was left of his parents' lives for him to inherit. Might make a person think the worst of the profession to start with!
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Wrighty
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Re: lawyer


rkubie wrote:
Wonderful, ELee, thanks!



Reading the comments, I also thought of Jacob's initial experience with a lawyer--the one who informed Jacob (as if he were annoyed and bored by doing it) that nothing whatever was left of his parents' lives for him to inherit. Might make a person think the worst of the profession to start with!



I felt so bad for Jacob and what he had just gone through. When he had to receive even more bad news from that lawyer it made me angry with him. When this subject came up here I went back and reread that passage and then I had mixed feelings about him. Since it's being told from Jacob's perspective it's hard to tell if the lawyer has been sympathetic or not. He does call Jacob "son" and he explains what happened with the mortgage and how he wished he knew what Jacob should do. I don't find any descriptions or quotes that make him sound cruel. Jacob even says to himself "I can't tell if he's trying to give the appearance of patience and failing miserably or is blatantly trying to make me leave." We can't read his body language or hear his tone of voice. When he says "I suppose you could go west" is he trying to be helpful or is he impatient for Jacob to go? He does have nice clothes and an expensive office so he's obviously done well in the past but he explains that the country has fallen on hard times and that's how these situations occur. Jacob may not have paid much attention to that before since he was a young student in an Ivy League school. No matter what the lawyer intended Jacob is still the victim of terrible circumstances and he has my sympathy.
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ELee
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Re: lawyer

"I felt so bad for Jacob and what he had just gone through. When he had to receive even more bad news from that lawyer it made me angry with him. When this subject came up here I went back and reread that passage and then I had mixed feelings about him. Since it's being told from Jacob's perspective it's hard to tell if the lawyer has been sympathetic or not. He does call Jacob "son" and he explains what happened with the mortgage and how he wished he knew what Jacob should do. I don't find any descriptions or quotes that make him sound cruel. Jacob even says to himself "I can't tell if he's trying to give the appearance of patience and failing miserably or is blatantly trying to make me leave." We can't read his body language or hear his tone of voice. When he says "I suppose you could go west" is he trying to be helpful or is he impatient for Jacob to go? He does have nice clothes and an expensive office so he's obviously done well in the past but he explains that the country has fallen on hard times and that's how these situations occur. Jacob may not have paid much attention to that before since he was a young student in an Ivy League school. No matter what the lawyer intended Jacob is still the victim of terrible circumstances and he has my sympathy."

The old "unreliable narrator", eh? I reread the passage also and I agree that it is Jacob's subjective impressions of Edmund Hyde, Esquire that create a negative undertone: there is nothing outright in the lawyer's behavior to really support the way Jacob is reacting. (It's funny, this tendency is something he retains throughout life and can also be seen in "old Jacob".) There is one point that Jacob makes that I feel supports his aversion to the lawyer, though. While Mr. Hyde goes on about how the community has been hit hard and the country has fallen on hard times, Jacob notes that he's probably "never taken payment in the form of beans and eggs in his life". The fact that he has retained his wealth while almost everyone around him suffers is in sharp contrast to Jacob's father who "couldn't stand by and watch animals suffer" (let alone people). The lawyer doesn't seem to have that kind of conscience. In any case, this experience couldn't help but contribute to Jacob's reaction to Joseph McGuinty, don't you think?
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Wrighty
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Re: lawyer


ELee wrote:

The old "unreliable narrator", eh? I reread the passage also and I agree that it is Jacob's subjective impressions of Edmund Hyde, Esquire that create a negative undertone: there is nothing outright in the lawyer's behavior to really support the way Jacob is reacting. (It's funny, this tendency is something he retains throughout life and can also be seen in "old Jacob".) There is one point that Jacob makes that I feel supports his aversion to the lawyer, though. While Mr. Hyde goes on about how the community has been hit hard and the country has fallen on hard times, Jacob notes that he's probably "never taken payment in the form of beans and eggs in his life". The fact that he has retained his wealth while almost everyone around him suffers is in sharp contrast to Jacob's father who "couldn't stand by and watch animals suffer" (let alone people). The lawyer doesn't seem to have that kind of conscience. In any case, this experience couldn't help but contribute to Jacob's reaction to Joseph McGuinty, don't you think?



Oh I definitely agree and I was thinking about that too as I reread it. The expensive suit and desk, the leather bound books. I even started to write about it before and was thinking that maybe that was all the lawyer had left of his wealth. Maybe that was his only good suit and he wore it every day, maybe the expensive furniture wasn't as expensive as it seemed, maybe, maybe, maybe... Nah. It was just too much of a stretch. He in no way appeared to be having the hardships that Jacob and his family were having. I just thought it was funny how my reaction to my first reading of that passage was only on Jacob's reactions. When I went back and looked for obvious signs of the lawyers indifference there weren't any. Of course that doesn't mean he wasn't. He certainly wasn't exerting any extra effort to help Jacob. We had recently watched a show that had a situation repeated over and over again from each characters viewpoint. It was amazing how much all of the details changed every time they showed it. I guess I was kind of looking at it that way the second time. I know, I know! I put way too much into one passage and yes I do have better things to do with my time. :smileywink:
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