Sara Gruen Water For Elephants Literary Analysis

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Literary Setting Influences on Water for Elephants Sara Gruen’s third novel, Water for Elephants, was set in a second-rate traveling circus during the height of the America’s Great Depression, in 1931. However, Gruen was not born until the mid 1970s and therefore, unlike most authors, her childhood had little influence on her novel. In fact, Gruen admitted that she herself had never visited the circus as a child. Nevertheless, Sara Gruen engaged herself in extensive research, and was able to describe the events of the novel not only accurately, but also in a very simple, yet detailed and colourful manner. Gruen was able to draw influence from not only her research, but from her love for animals, as well as crediting the works…show more content…
Along with her family, Sara Gruen lives with three cats, two dogs, two goats, and a horse, therefore it is no surprise that all three of her novels revolve around the relationship between humans and animals. Her first two novels, Riding Lessons and Flying Changes were both about horseback riding, and her current work in progress, Ape House will be about her love for the bonobo apes. In Water for Elephants, it is evident that Gruen’s love for animals was a heavy influence on the novel and on Jacob’s character as a veterinarian. She put much emphasis on the cruelty of the treatment of the animals in the circus, such as Rosie the elephant being fed a lit cigarette and being beaten severly by August, the circus’ animal trainer. During her research, Gruen was also given a chance to meet and interact with several elephants in captivity at the Kansas City Zoo, and at a circus. Her personal experience with the creatures was extremely beneficial to the novel, as the outstanding descriptions of their behaviour and appearance made the novel very…show more content…
Nathan is a charming and generous man, however, he is a paranoid schizophrenic and can occasionally become frighteningly jealous, violent, and delusional. Almost the exact situation occurs in Water for Elephants, in which Jacob Jankowski becomes involved in the relationship between Marlena and the schizophrenic August. In both novels, the mentally ill husband suspects an affair between his wife and the protagonist, and becomes extremely abusive and violent. Sara Gruen uses a very similar style to that of William Styron to describe the events of the outbreaks, and the complex lives of the mentally

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