Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Start Your Free Trial

Download Water for Elephants Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapter 8 Summary

At the nursing home, Rosemary the nurse wakes Jacob. She says he has been dreaming and muttering something about stars and cats. As she takes off the Velcro wrist restraints, she asks if he tried to run off the previous day. Jacob admits that his plate slid off the table, and Rosemary laughs saying that Jacob is a “live one.” Rosemary opens the blinds, and Jacob gets upset that he is never asked what he wants in his own room. Rosemary drops the blinds and marches out of the room. Then she opens the door just a little and asks if she may come in the room. Jacob is not sure whether she is playing a game with him, but he tells her to come inside. She asks if she can open the blinds to let in the sunshine, and Jacob tells her to do it and to stop the nonsense. But Rosemary says that it is not nonsense and that Jacob has opened her eyes to the wants and needs of the residents. Jacob is still not sure if she is being serious or making fun of him. Rosemary asks if Jacob would like to take breakfast in his bedroom or in the dining room. Jacob says that he will take breakfast in his bedroom. She then asks when Jacob wants to take his shower, and Jacob is not sure that he even wants a shower. But Rosemary reminds him that his family will visit today and take him to the circus. Jacob does not want help taking a shower, but he knows that it is standard practice at the nursing home. He is embarrassed by having to take off his clothes in front of a nurse; he is even more embarrassed by the possibility of having an erection during the shower. So Jacob is coarse with Rosemary as she helps him into the shower, but Rosemary takes it in stride and tells him that she will be just outside. Jacob enjoys the feel of the water on his old body.

Jacob sometimes thinks about the feel of a woman’s body, and then he misses his wife. He knows that if she were still alive, they would be able to take care of each other. Since she is gone, Jacob’s children have assumed all...

(The entire section is 589 words.)