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Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants

by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants Chapter 8 Summary

How It All Goes Down

  • Jacob finds himself pulling out of sleep and back into his aging body at the nursing home. He has a minor fight with the nurse, Rosemary, who he usually likes. She ends up treating him with more respect than usual, so it seems like he's made his point. She actually starts to ask his permission before doing things.
  • Rosemary reminds him that his family is coming to visit and that he'll be seeing the circus later that day. Sounds good to us.
  • As Rosemary helps him shower, Jacob thinks about how embarrassing it is to be old. He wishes for privacy and finally gets it. Almost as an aside, he reveals that he's had five kids. (Later, their names are given: Simon, Ruth, Peter, Joseph, and Dinah.)
  • Jacob thinks about his wife, whom he loved and misses, and about how his children are the ones who manipulated him into staying at the home in the first place.
  • He feels betrayed but also realizes that his kids have had their own problems. They're difficult, but one of them visits him like clockwork, once a week. The visits are painful and bland.
  • Jacob longs to be young again.
  • Rosemary interrupts his thoughts, bringing him breakfast. She's included some cream, which is a forbidden treat. Jacob is grateful and she leaves him alone to snack. When she's gone, he gets sad about how old he looks: he feels like he's lost his identity, trapped in this old body.
  • He's not hungry anymore, so he lies down and looks out the window.
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