Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reading and Writing Reflection #4

Book: Water For Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen

Pages Read: 1-13 (part 2)

I clearly have a lot to say about the prologue and the first chapter, as this is the second part of the reading reflection. (Hooray for sticky notes! Despite it being a little annoying to have to stop part way through reading to write something down, it is also so helpful! I used a total of 6 sticky notes just for the 13 pages, which is definitely a record for me. Since I prefer to read later in the evening, I usually don’t have time to write the reflection right after. The sticky notes have made the reading reflections a breeze!)

Back to the book, the first chapter is Jacob seventy years later, at a care home. He starts the chapter off by making a good point about old age. He says, “You call your child by the names of all your children and finally the dog before you get to his.” I can relate to this, considering my mom does this all the time. “Lena, Maggie (dog), I mean Jane! Come here!” She’ll yell (translation from the Russian language.) The best part is that she isn’t even old. She’s only about half of Jacob’s age…

Jacob goes on about his longing for normal food. He says, “Sometimes I think that if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I’d choose the corn.” My automatic reaction to this was laughter, of course. Once it sunk in a little bit, I really felt bad for Jacob. The statement is actually very sad if you think about the situation… Lonely old man that can barely walk is stuck with nothing but his thoughts and doesn’t get to enjoy the rest of his life… Not even some decent food! I would hate not being able to eat good food.

He reminisces about his life at the circus, which makes me want to experience the classic circus environment, as I don’t think that I’ve ever been before. This description makes me wonder if circuses like that even exist in this time period. I hope they do… it’s something that I’m going to add to my bucket list ;).

Later on, Jacob brings up something else that really amazes me and makes me sympathize for him. He talks about being widowed. The woman was his wife for 61 years (wow!) and died of cancer. A question instantly popped into my mind – was the woman Marlena?! I secretly hope it was… Something Jacob said that really played with my heart strings was “…I’m glad she went first. Losing her was like being cleft down the middle. It was the moment it all ended for me, and I wouldn’t have wanted her to go through that.” This quote really showed me just how much Jacob cared (and still cares) for his wife. You can tell that he depended on her greatly, and she seems to be the only family he ever had, so it must have been devastating for him to lose her.

Six Word Memoirs:

I tend to have difficulty shortening things and getting to the point, so having a project where an entire story or fact has to be told through just six words was a little challenging for me. I found myself rewording the same phrase over and over again to fit the word limit and to make it sound better. Let’s just say that the thesaurus was my best friend. The best part about using the thesaurus was that despite the great substitutes and words I had found, I usually ended up sticking to the original line or simpler wording. So in the end, I mostly used it for reassurance more than anything else.

Something that I really enjoyed was putting the words together with the visuals. Finding something that really fit in my eyes was a little bit of a challenge, but seeing the finished piece is definitely worth all that trouble. As far as I know, the students that didn't join the course a month late (so everyone but me,) had to find visuals within the school. I am definitely glad that I wasn't one of those students... This would've been so difficult to do, and would definitely call for a lot of creativity. Hmm... Maybe next time. This project has made me realise just how sentimental one image can be. Yes, we have hundreds upon hundreds of pictures lying around, but it seems like every single one of those pictures tells a story. Overall, the project is one I really liked!

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