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Setting - Essay Example

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The setting of “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen is effectively set to demonstrate the desperation of the Americans during the great depression of the 1930s. Americans are suffering a lot with no food or money to buy supplies with. The life was very gloomy with no…
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Setting in “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen The setting of “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen is effectively set to demonstrate the desperation of the Americans during the great depression of the 1930s. Americans are suffering a lot with no food or money to buy supplies with. The life was very gloomy with no entertainment. The only type of entertainment they had was a circus which gave them an escape from the hard life. To attend a circus is depicted as something which is very wonderful.
There are two major scenes in the book that describe the contrast between the early and later years of Jacob Jankowski. The first scene is in his twenties where he is lonely, cold, bitter but also hopeful when he enters the circus. Although this early life is characterized by rough times, he still manages to get an escape to the circus when his parents died. The other scene is set in the nursing home with Jacob is in his nineties. In the nursing home, he is lonely too but life here is more permanent that in the circus setting.
The fact that the story is set during the depression is very relevant. This is because the main theme of the story is based on the poor conditions and tough lives of the Americans during the great depression. As such, it emphasizes the high poverty levels. The people were too poor to afford even the food supplies due to loss of economic benefits. If it had been set in the Roaring 20s when jobs were plentiful and spirits high, it could not have expressed the theme of this story because people would have had plenty of resources to live comfortably.
Apart from taking people from place to place, the train represents lack of permanence to the circus people. They have no permanent residence due to poor economic conditions and therefore, they have to move from place to place for commerce purposes. As such, the train is a representation of hope that the circus’s poor conditions will get better.
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Sara Gruen. “Water for Elephants”. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2007. Print. Read More
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