Study Guide

Water for Elephants Chapter 20

By Sara Gruen

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Chapter 20

  • It's the day after the horrible fight with August. Jacob watches as Marlena gets Earl to help her move out of August's place. August is apologizing every which way he can, but Marlena ignores him.
  • August pleads and begs and then starts yelling.
  • Marlena moves away from him, and Jacob goes with her. They go into the town, where they try to check Marlena into a hotel. The guy working there won't help them because he doesn't think they're married (which, of course, is true). He finally relents after finding out that they work at the circus, but Jacob's done with the place.
  • They go to another hotel and have better luck. Jacob walks Marlena to her room and drops her off, even though he wants to stay. What a gentleman.
  • Jacob goes back to work and is called into a meeting with Al. Al just wants to keep the circus going and maybe get Marlena and August back together (which would help).
  • He wants to know if Marlena and Jacob are a thing, but Jacob is kind of upset by the whole conversation.
  • Al tries to explain that August has a mental illness. He wants Jacob to back off so Marlena and August can be together.
  • Jacob's not interested, but Al implies that if Jacob doesn't help him out, he'll take it out on Walter and Camel. Whoa now.
  • Then Jacob heads off to take care of Rosie. While he's there, August comes in to apologize. He's actually pretty beat up, too.
  • Jacob doesn't want to forgive August and refuses to answer his questions about Marlena.
  • Finally, August leaves. But on his way out, he throws his cigarette at Rosie and burns her. Man, this guy's just plain old mean.
  • Jacob panics, afraid that August is going to seek out Marlena. He cautiously makes his way to the hotel to warn her. The guy working there tries to stop him, but Jacob manages to get in. He finds out that August was already there, but luckily Marlena's still safe.
  • Marlena explains some of August's violent history: he's done terrible things and she's been trapped with him.
  • Then, one thing leads to another. They have amazing sex, share secrets, and feel completely safe.
  • Jacob is falling more and more in love with her.

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