Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Dear Sara Gruen,
I am a sophomore at
Thanks so much for the great read,
-"Unbuffered" (page 55): nothing to lessen or absorb the shock of an impact.
-"Desiccated" (page 64): dehydrated, or powdered.
"The big top still stands, glowing like a ghostly coliseum and pulsing with the sound of the band." (73)
-This is an example of a simile because the author is comparing the circus tent to a roman coliseum using the word, "like".
"I'm dead, I know tomorrow is going to be impossible to get up and begin work again." (45)
-The author uses a metaphor, saying Jacob is dead implying he's very tired.
"I cling to my anger with every ounce of humanity left in my ruined body, but it's no use. It slips away, like a wave from shore." (49)
-This is another example of a simile, using the word, "like" to make a comparison.
"This is Jacob. He's going to help out in the menagerie." (61)
-This is the most important quote in the second section of reading because it is when Jacob officially gets a job in the circus. It's significant because Jacob knows he can start his new life, beginning with his job on the train working with animals, which he's studied.
One emerging theme in the story right now is, hard work pays off. Jacob can now make a living by doing what he's good at. By working hard, he got a job on the train that he can hopefully keep.
Analyzing Jacob; before and after the tragedy of his parents’ death.
-Before the accident, Jacob was attending college classes and lectures to be a veterinarian. He spent time worrying about normal things like girls, school, friends, and homework. Much like any student, he never expected anything to happen to his family, or him, and certainly nothing life-changing.
“I’m twenty-three and sitting beside Catherine Hale; or rather, she’s sitting beside me, because she came into the lecture hall after I did, sliding nonchalantly across the bench until our thighs were touching and then shrinking away with a blush as though the contact were accidental.” (15)
-This quote shows Jacob’s last thoughts before he found out the terrible news of his family.
“This morning, I had parents. This morning, they ate breakfast.
I fall to my knees, right there on the back stoop, howling into splayed hands.” (19)
-After the accident, Jacob can’t finish his final exams. His mind is filled with mixed emotions; confusion, disappointment, sadness, and he can’t concentrate on finishing school. He doesn’t know what to do now that he has no family.
“I stare at these faces without features-these blank ovals with hair-looking from one to the next with increasing desperation. I’m aware of a heavy, wet noise, and realize it’s me. I’m gasping for breath.”
-Monotony (page 13): wearisome uniformity or lack of variety
-Stupor (page 24): A state of reduced or suspended sensibility
"The old ladies chatter like schoolgirls, blissfully unaware." (9)
-This is a simile because the author is using the word, "like" to compare the behavior of old ladies and schoolgirls. It paints a picture of the elderly women talking and giggling like young girls.
Even though faint, I can tell the train is approaching by the screaming whistle." (24)
-This is an example of an onomatopoeia, when the noise written is imitating an object; the whistle.
"In the morning light I see what I couldn't last night_the wagons are painted scarlet, with gold trim and sunburst wheels, each emblazoned with the name BENZINI BROS MOST SPECTACULAR SHOW ON EARTH."
-The author uses imagery to explain and give a detailed description of the wagon Jacob ended up on.
"Son, there's been an accident. An automobile accident. Your parents were involved. I'm sorry, son. It was instant. There was nothing anyone could do." (17)
This is the most important quote in the first section of reading because it's when Jacob learns his parents have died in a car accident. It's significant because of the effect it has on Jacob, leading him to run away, not finish his final exams to become a veterinarian, joining the circus.
One emerging theme in the story right now is, Perseverance. Jacob just ran away to a place that isn't familiar and he doesn't have parents any longer so he needs to learn to stay strong in order to stay safe.
"You'll get lost in the tatty glamour of Gruen's meticulously researched world, from spangled equestrian pageantry and the sleazy side show to an ill-fated night at a Chicago speak-easy."
- The Washington Post
You can tell this book obviously is sufficiently challenging for a high school sophomore just by reading the reviews, which use more sophisticated grammar than I, or most sophomores are used to.
I chose the book "Water for Elephants" because I like challenging myself with harder reads- such as Water for Elephants. Also, this book was Bestseller according to the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times.