Water for Elephants
Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
I feel my face turn red. I look at the sidewall. I look at the ceiling. I look at my feet.
"Ah heck, ain't you cute," she says, tapping the cigarette over the grass. She brings it to her mouth and takes a deep drag. "You're blushing." (12.122-23)
Here, Jacob takes on a submissive role: the shy young man interacting with the experienced older woman. She adds to his embarrassment by pointing out the fact that he's blushing and even calling him "cute." That might just be a blow to his masculine ego.
"That fucking bull cost me a fortune! She's the reason I couldn't pay the men and had to take care of business and caught heat from the goddamned railroad authority! And for what? The goddamned thing won't perform and she steals the fucking lemonade!"
"Al!" August says sharply. "Watch your mouth. I'll have you remember you're in the presence of a lady." (15.217-18)
August shares the idea here that men should behave differently when they're "in the presence of a lady." The implication is that they should speak more carefully and properly, avoiding slang and cursing. In private, among other men, it seems they can use any language they want. This is ironic coming from August, given that he doesn't treat women any better than he treats men.
"[…] I want my good shirt. And my bow tie."
"Your bow tie!" She hoots, throwing her head back and laughing.
"Yes, my bow tie." (18.5-7)
As an old man, Jacob still understands the importance of dressing up and looking nice for important events. He tells Rosemary that he wants his fancy clothes so he can look like the man he knows himself to be. Rosemary "hoots" and "laugh[s]," as though it's slightly ridiculous that Jacob would want to dress up, but he persists.