Study Guide

Water for Elephants Chapter 22

By Sara Gruen

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Chapter 22

  • Jacob wakes up to find himself in his quarters on the train, where Walter is taking care of him.
  • He's worried about Marlena.
  • Jacob is in pretty bad shape, even worse than when August beat him up.
  • Our guy wants to help Marlena, but Walter says they've got to lie low. Soon they can deliver Camel to his family and then worry about themselves again.
  • Then Jacob drops the bomb, and tells Walter that Marlena is pregnant.
  • Finally, Jacob accepts that Walter is right and they need to wait it out. Patience, Jacob, patience.
  • Or not. When Walter and Camel are sleeping, Jacob grabs a weapon and sneaks out across the train.
  • He's still in bad shape from the beating, and it's dangerous to cross the train the way he does, but he perseveres. He's holding a blade in his mouth. (This is straight out of an action movie, we love it.)
  • Finally, Jacob gets to his destination and it's revealed to the reader that he has a plan to murder someone. WHOA.
  • He finds August asleep and alone, but he chickens out. He leaves the weapon behind and makes the long, arduous trek back to his quarters.
  • But when he arrives, it's empty. Camel and Walter are gone. Queenie's there and she's really upset.
  • Jacob is devastated. He realizes that he left Walter and Camel behind, defenseless. He tries to imagine a way to make things better and hopes against hope that Walter and Camel are okay.
  • He begins to plot his revenge.
  • Jacob is furious. He finds Earl and accuses him of hurting Walter and Camel, but Earl denies it. Actually, it seems like Earl is just as upset as Jacob is.
  • Earl says he'll look into it and warns Jacob that he's in terrible danger. (No kidding, Earl.)
  • Later, Jacob finds out that ten people were forced off the train that night. Jacob feels like Walter may have suffered extra because they were friends. How awful.
  • Jacob wants to find Marlena. He has a strange moment of eye contact with Al and he can tell that Al is shocked to see him.
  • Finally, Jacob finds Marlena without August: our man and our lady have both been worried about each other.
  • Jacob wants to escape ASAP, but Marlena wants to wait: they need cash. Jacob says he'll take care of it.
  • At that point, Earl has to separate them. Nobody except Jacob and Marlena realize that Earl is on their side.
  • Jacob waits out the day, and that night, the circus performs. Jacob is lurking around and sees Rosie get set up by August.
  • Then Grady comes up and steals Jacob away. Over burgers (no big deal), Grady lets Jacob know that Walter and Camel didn't make it. They both died when they were thrown off the train, according to the guys who survived and made it back.
  • We'll give you a sec to go grab a tissue.
  • Grady tells Jacob that a bunch of them are going to get revenge on Al. It's also clear that Jacob and Marlena haven't been able to keep their secret from anyone.
  • All of the sudden, the circus band makes a strange noise and starts playing "Stars and Stripes Forever." Sound familiar? That's because this is what we saw in the Prologue. It's all coming full circle.
  • Jacob runs to the area where the animals are and sees that they're all running around like crazy. (This sure is sounding like a dream he had.)
  • It's super dangerous. The animals get into the main tent and the audience freaks out.
  • Jacob realizes that the people seeking revenge on Al have caused the animals to storm the circus.
  • Jacob finds Marlena and Rosie, who are with August.
  • Then – are you sitting down? – he watches, stupefied, as Rosie uses her stake to murder August. She just slices it through the top of his head and then puts it back, like it was nothing.
  • Wow.
  • More animals run in, separating Jacob from the others. They trample August: if he wasn't dead before, he's really dead now.
  • Marlena faints, but Rosie protects her until the other animals calm down. Sweetest elephant ever. Oh, except for the brutal murder she just committed.
  • In all the craziness, nobody realizes what has happened. Eventually, the audience gets away from the circus and most of the animals do, too.
  • Jacob is able to get Marlena out. Phew.

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