Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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Chapter 6 Summary

Jacob again flashes back to his time in the circus, and he is on the circus train. The train finally comes to a stop, and Kinko rises. He is barely four feet tall. He pets his dog, Queenie, and asks her if she wants to go outside. Jacob tries to talk to Kinko, but Kinko ignores him and goes outside. When Jacob emerges from the train, he sees that many of the tents have already been erected and a crowd of spectators is already gathering to watch. Other circus workers come out of the train cars, and Jacob notices that the more elite members have better cars near the back of the train—Uncle Al’s train car is just in front of the caboose. Jacob and Kinko have the car nearest the engine. August emerges from the train and calls to Jacob. August introduces Jacob to Marlena, and Jacob is embarrassed by the filth that has accumulated on his person. Marlena thinks Jacob looks familiar, but she quickly abandons the thought and focuses on the horses. She wants Jacob to look over Silver Star, and she manages to coax the horse out of the train car. After checking the horse’s symptoms, Jacob announces that the horse is foundering and orders that the horse receive different feed and rest off its feet.

Suddenly, Uncle Al gives orders that everything is to be packed up—the train is leaving for Joliet. All are confused because the train has just arrived. There is a rumor that Uncle Al, the vulture that he is, has heard about the collapse of the Fox Brothers Circus and hopes to take on one of its former employees—the famous Charles Mansfield-Livingston, who has a parasitic twin attached to his chest. Uncle Al loves people whom he considers freaks. All are angry at his hasty decision to abandon the site.

The workers pack many provisions onto the train, and Jacob seeks to refresh himself. August sees Jacob cleaning himself with water from the horses, so he offers Jacob water in the bathhouse. He also sends him a fresh shirt. When Jacob returns to his bunk, he sees a pile of...

(The entire section is 560 words.)