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A Little Camel Goes Along Way

By:   •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,388 Words  •  May 26, 2010  •  2,040 Views

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A Little Camel Goes Along Way

A Little Camel Goes Along Way

"'A First of May. Name's Jacob Jankowski'" (Gruen 32) were the words that came out of Camel's mouth when describing the newest addition to the Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show on Earth to Bill Durham . Jacob had no idea that these words were actually describing his experiences with life, not just on the circus.insightful comment!] In Sara Gruen's novel, Water for Elephants, the stories protagonist experiences depression era life as a member of a traveling circus. Invaluable life lessons are administered along the journey for our hero Jacob, and one old man in particular has a long lasting impact of the development of Jacob's character. Camel's early interactions with Jacob mould and shape his character into a compassionate and caring figure that looks after Camel when he falls ill.

Despite the economic conditions of the era leading most people to care only about themselves and no one else, Camel takes an interest in helping Jacob receive a job on the circus because he likens him to his own son. Fact, not opinion] The entire nation was in a state of disarray, the unemployment rate spiking near 25%, off topic] yet an old man who does not hold any real clout in the circus is doing everything in his small bit of power to find a job for our young hero Jacob. The circus frequently encountered bums and beggars and has no qualms about throwing them from a moving train as Jacob found out in his early encounter with Blackie ]as he jumped aboard the train with Blackie providing such a warm and hospitable welcome to Jacob's appearance in the train car. "'We don't got room for no bums on this train, brother. You can get right back off'" (16). Even as Jacob was greeted with this, Camel stuck his neck out for the first of many times to stave off his imminent expulsion from the train by Blackie. The next day, Camel begins showing Jacob around the circus and trying to give him a crash course so he can survive in this mad world. Later that evening after Camel successfully finds work for Jacob on a temporary basis for the day, Camel and Jacob are having a conversation where Camel lets it be known that he has a son the same age as Jacob, 23. This bit of insight sheds some light on why Camel is bending over backwards to help this seemingly lost young man.

Estranged to his own son, Camel feels that it is his duty to act in a father-like role for Jacob. From the very first encounter between the two characters, it is made apparent through the numerous times Camel goes out of his way to help Jacob in his early days on the show. Camel's affection towards Jacob can best be seen after Uncle Al blows him off while trying to speak to him about Jacob's future on the show. While Jacob is already to consign to defeat, Camel lets off a triad on Jacob exclaiming "'Just shut it. I don't want to hear it. You're a good kid, and I ain't about to stand by and watch you mope off ‘cuz that fat old grouch don't got time. I just ain't So have a little respect for your elders and don't give me no trouble'"(53). This is reminiscent of a father scolding his son while showing him a valuable lesson in the process. Persistence is a quality trait to possess, and Camel is demonstrating that you should not give up without at least giving it a fight.

Furthermore, the exchange between Camel and Jacob after Uncle Al blows off Camel goes deeper than just showing a father like relationship between the two, it actually strengthens the backbone of both characters and has a lasting impact on Jacob as the story deepens. Later in the story when Jacob is faced with the complex situation regarding his love for Marlena, he never gives up. This was not something he was capable of when he fled from his final exams at Cornell, giving up his parents dream their son becoming a veterinarian. Camel steps into the father role that was sorely lacking for Jacob after the tragedy involving his own parents and has a lasting impact on his development in the story.

As Camel falls ill from the effects of Jake leg, Jacob is horrified and in shock yet begins to reciprocate the level of caring that was shown to him and it effects the story on many levels. Jacob responds with utter shock to the news that Camel is not going to recover, and refuses to believe the diagnosis until he hears it from doctor himself. The great length that Jacob had to go through

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