Water for Elephants
How we cite our quotes:
The door to the stateroom swings open, revealing Marlena, gorgeous in red satin.
"What?" she says, looking down at herself. "Is there something on my dress?" She twists, inspecting her body and legs.
"No," I say. "You look swell." (11.84-86)
Marlena may be practicing a little false modesty here. When Jacob stares at her in admiration, she wonders if there's something wrong with her appearance. She doesn't automatically assume that Jacob is full of admiration for her. Perhaps, though, it's dangerous for her to acknowledge something like that so early on in their relationship. (Don't forget, there's a jealous husband lurking in the wings!)
More cheering, more adulation. Marlena spreads her arms in the air, turning to give each section of the audience a chance to adore her. Then she turns to Midnight and perches delicately on his lowered back. He rises, arches his neck, and carries Marlena from the big top. (15.37)
Marlena's act is carefully choreographed to acknowledge and invite "cheering," "adulation," and "ador[ation]." The act is designed precisely to bring out admiration: the more she receives, the better the act has done. But unlike the admiration Jacob feels for her or Rosie, this admiration is impersonal and based on performance.
And then the shower of money starts – the sweet, sweet shower of money. Uncle Al is delirious, standing in the center of the hippodrome track with his arms and face raised, basking in the coins that rain down on him. He keeps his face raised even as coins bounce off his cheeks, nose, and forehead. I think he may actually be crying. (17.193)
Here is a scene in which admiration takes on a physical form. The crowd's admiration for the circus turns into money, which is then "shower[ed]" and "rain[ed]" down on Uncle Al. Funny, too, that money turns into a "shower" and a fall of "rain" for Al, when Jacob describes himself overflowing with love by using the same watery metaphor. How can water represent money and love at the same time?