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Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants


by Sara Gruen

Suffering Quotes in Water for Elephants

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

Uncle Al is desolate, weeping and honking into his red handkerchief and allowing himself only the occasional upward glance to gauge whether the procession's speed allows for maximum crowd enlargement. (15.15)

This moment of suffering is fake-ity fake fake. Al puts on a grand show of "desolat[ion]" for the "crowd." He's actually working really hard to look credibly upset about the death of the fat lady. Jacob figures this out from the fact that Al is "allowing himself" to check on the crowd only "occasional[ly]" rather than constantly. Nice job, Al. (Not.)

Quote #8

August marches off. I turn back to Rosie. She stares at me, a look of unspeakable sadness on her face. Her amber eyes are filled with tears. (20.113)

In this moment of unhappiness, the characters don't need words to express their pain. Rosie says it all through her body: "her face" has "a look of unspeakable sadness" and "[h]er […] eyes are filled with tears." She sounds as though she could be entirely human here.

Quote #9

August is not the only one consumed by thoughts of Marlena. I lie on my horse blanket at night wanting her so badly I ache. A part of me wishes she would come to me – but not really, because it's too dangerous. I also can't go to her, because she's sharing a bunk in the virgin car with one of the bally broads. (21.100)

Pain is caused by both good and bad feelings, which makes more sense the more you think about it. Jacob longs for Marlena "so badly [he] aches." His desire for her actually pains him, rather than bringing him joy or relief.

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