In Jacob’s life, his economic and social condition is worse than that of an animal, and in another life, he lives to see the exploitation of and cruel treatment to the animals by humankind. As a young man, Jacob has a reasonably good start in life, and he is about to finish his degree at Cornell’s veterinary school. Cruel stroke of destiny plays its part, his parents die in an accident, leaving nothing for him in inheritance. He has no job, and his earlier plan to join his father’s veterinary practice goes haywire.
I chose this book as it details how a young man faces the trials and tribulations of life, and also details the life of animals which are at the mercy of human beings. The most powerful animals like lions and elephants are compelled to behave subserviently to human beings when they are in his captivity and control. I have a passion to read books that detail the life of animals and deal with their living conditions. About two years ago, I happened to read the book Animal Forum and Declaration of Third World War by an Indian author HCR Mallya, the story of which relates to the rebellion of animals against humankind and fight for their rights and how the animals and birds emerge victorious in the war against human beings. My passion to read animal stories and their adventures have increased manifold since then. Water for the Elephants contains 25 chapters. Though each and every chapter does not relate to the animals directly as such, a discerning reader can observe some connection to the main theme of the book related to animals.
Chapter 1: Jacob is in his 90s and his condition evokes instant sympathy. The problems of ageing have disordered his life. He hates to be old age bracket, though he is in it. He is undergoing treatment for the broken hip, yet reaches to the window, rejecting the help being offered to him by others, and observes the tents and trappings of a circus being fixed in .the open ground below. .