Study Guide

Water for Elephants Characters

By Sara Gruen

Jacob Jankowski

Jacob is working overtime as the narrator of Water for Elephants. Younger Jacob and older Jacob...

Marlena

Marlena is gutsy and beautiful: what a combination. She seems pretty modern for a woman of the...

Rosie the Elephant

[Spoiler alert! Don't say we didn't warn you.]Rosie is good-natured and lovable. She's loyal,...

August

August is a classic antagonist. He's the straight-up villain of Water for Elephants. He's a...

Uncle Al

Uncle Al is the classic circus impresario: "He has ringmaster written all over him, from the...

Rosemary the Nurse

Rosemary is Jacob's favorite nurse at the retirement home and the only one who really treats him...

Walter

Walter starts out as Jacob's enemy and ends up as his friend. (Aw.) The path is somewhat arduous...

Camel

Camel is one of the first people Jacob meets at the circus and one of the first to be kind to...

Charlie

Charlie enters the book in the second-to-last chapter and plays a small but pivotal role. Aside...

The Circus Crowd

Aside from August, Marlena, Al, Camel, and Walter, the other people who work at the circus sort...

Joseph McGuinty

McGuinty is a minor character who appears early on in the book. He is mainly important because of...

Jacob's Children

Jacob's children are practically nonexistent, and maybe that's the point. They have abandoned him...

Catherine Hale

Catherine is a woman at Jacob's veterinary school who teases and flirts with him. He desires her...

Jacob's Parents

Jacob's parents loved him deeply and sacrificed a great deal for him. They mortgaged their house...