Water for Elephants
How we cite our quotes:
It's impossible to describe how tenderly I suddenly feel toward them – hyenas, camels, and all. Even the polar bear, who sits on his backside chewing his four-inch claws with his four-inch teeth. A love for these animals wells up in me suddenly, a flash flood, and there it is, solid as an obelisk and viscous as water. (11.40)
One neat thing about this book is how much love the human characters have for animals. You hear about animals being mistreated at circuses, and certainly that's shown in the book through characters like August. But for every individual like him there's someone like Jacob, who cares for animals so "tenderly" that he feels like he's overflowing with love for them.
I hate him. I hate him for being so brutal. I hate that I'm beholden to him. I hate that I'm in love with his wife and something damned close to that with the elephant. And most of all, I hate that I've let them both down. (12.154)
Love is a strong emotion and one that's closely attached here to its opposite, equally strong emotion: hate. Jacob's hate for August arises, at least in part, because he's in love with his wife. He's also getting "close" to feeling love for the elephant that is technically is under August's supervision. Jacob might also hate August for other reasons, as listed in the quotation, but he probably wouldn't feel quite so strongly about August if he didn't feel so strongly about Marlena and Rosie, too.
My heart pounds so hard that, despite the roaring of the crowd, I am aware of blood whooshing through my ears. I am filled to overflowing, bursting with love. (15.38)
Several times in the book Jacob compares the idea of love rising up in himself to a wave. Here he says that he's "overflowing, bursting with love." It's almost like love is a physical thing that he can feel moving through his body. It's not just an intangible emotion; it's almost like a foreign object sweeping through him. That might mean that he feels like this love is out of his control – it's larger than him and takes him over.