Finding The Blessings In Water For Elephants By Sara Gruen

1219 words - 5 pages

“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds with it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” (Buddha) The difference between the New York Best Seller book Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen and the winner of the people’s choice awards for favourite drama movie Water For Elephants is evident. Despite bearing similarities in the plot line, the differences between both are clear. The movie adaptation portrays characters differently, which, in turn, affects the plot line. For instance, August’s character’s personality and way of handling situations is changed, whereas Jacob’s character is not shown as a bitter, sad old man in the movie, and Uncle Al, the circus owners character is removed.
The situations August’s character encounters are similar from novel to movie, but the way he handles himself throughout the novel and during the movie are undeniably different. August’s character in the novel is more of a passive person when it comes to Marlena and Jacob’s relationship. He watches from afar as they dance or when they have “moments”(Water For Elephants) as Jacob said. August very well knows that Jacob is interested in Marlena but he chooses not to believe it. He pushes those thoughts aside until the day he walks in on them planning his surprise party which he believes was them trying to get some alone time. When this happens, we begin to see his character as the villain when he attacks Jacob. In the movie, August’s character is very dominant towards Marlena and we see that he believes to have a sense of ownership towards her. As the movie progresses, he becomes increasingly violent. When realizing that there is a relationship developing between Jacob and Marlena, Jacob confronts them and Marlena gets on her knees trying to prove that she is not leaving him, he says, “Of course an innocent woman would have to get on her knees, but you can’t help it can you. Just force of habit for a woman like you”(Water For Elephants). She then slaps him, to which he follows by punching her in the face. Another situation when the difference of him being passive to aggressive is evident is during the stampede. In the novel, August does not know that Marlena is leaving him and tries to protect her while the animals are let out but in the movie, August attacks Marlena, nearly killing her with the bull hook.
Inevitably, the protagonist, Jacob Jankowski’s character is portrayed differently by cause of the movie is a shortened version of the novel. In the novel, Jacob Jankowski is a “90 or 93 year old man. One or the other” (Gruen 5) living in a nursing home. Until chapter twenty-four, Jacob is stuck in the nursing home, the story being narrated through dreaming about those times and talking to his nurse about his past with the Benzini Brothers circus. Jacob Jankowski also narrates the movie as a man in his 90’s, but he is telling the story to the circus director that is helping him when he shows up on the circus grounds on the final night. Unlike the...

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