Study Guide

Water for Elephants Chapter 12

By Sara Gruen

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Chapter 12

  • Jacob retreats to the animal area and goes back to work.
  • August is upset because Al wants Rosie to do more in the performance, but she's just not ready. Al is too ambitious for his own good: he wants to be like the Ringling Brothers.
  • Here's the thing: Rosie won't march with the other animals. In the end, the men have to cart her over to meet the rest of the animals. But when she's put on display, everyone loves her.
  • Jacob is convinced something is up – Rosie should be trainable. Hmm.
  • And now for something completely different: August and Al have a huge fight. The end result is that Rosie will to have to perform in the circus that day – with Marlena – even though they haven't practiced at all. This is dangerous business.
  • Marlena goes for it. It's absolutely terrifying to watch.
  • She rides Rosie into the tent while August makes Rosie obey by hurting her. Ugh.
  • The performance isn't going very well, although the audience seems to like it. Finally Rosie has had it and races out of the tent. Marlena manages to cling to part of the tent's structure, and she does some fancy flips before jumping down.
  • As far as the audience can tell, everything is great, but Marlena is badly injured.
  • August and Jacob run to her rescue and take her over to Barbara's area to tend to her. Barbara knows what to do and orders Jacob to bring them some ice.
  • Jacob runs into Al and explains what happened. Al sends him to get Rosie, who ran away after the act: she's in someone's garden in the village. Yikes.
  • Two other circus guys show up to calm the garden owner down. One of them, Greg, speaks Polish and knows a little bit about elephant care. He gives Rosie some gin and she has no problem obeying him after that. They don't even need the weapon. Aha.
  • Jacob goes back and peeks into Barbara's tent, but Marlena isn't there. Barbara mocks him gently.
  • Then, Jacob discovers that August is going to punish Rosie for what happened. August is determined, that's for sure. What a jerk.
  • Jacob is really upset that he can't help Rosie. He goes back to his room and tells Walter what happened.
  • When Walter leaves, Jacob can't stop thinking about Rosie and Marlena. He feels like a coward because he can't protect either of them. This is just sad.
  • Jacob's roomies returns tells him about Marlena's diagnosis: she hurt her heels, but she'll recover. Phew.
  • The two men, now friends, it seems, talk about Marlena and August.

Water for Elephants Chapter 12 Study Group

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