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How Jacob, as a Complex Character, Often Appears to have Opposing Aspects/Parts to his Personality Essay

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Updated: Oct 25th, 2018

Jacob Jankowski is the main character of the novel Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Considering the main traits of Jacob Jankowski, it may be stated that this person is too controversial. It is impossible to miss his complex character and opposing personality traits. Reading a book under discussion, many cases are found when Jacob Jankowski is depicted as a truthful and a liar, a hero and a coward, thoughtful and impulsive.

It should be mentioned that the book under consideration clearly states the cases when Jacob Jankowski is presented as a liar and when he appears to be a truthful persons. Reading a novel, we can see that the truth is really important for the main character. For example, it is possible to remember the situation when Jacob was about to lose the house.

However, he got to know that his parents had mortgaged a house before their death to pay Jacob’s tuition. Thus, he could not do it, he could not spend already lost house (Gruen 20). At the same time, Jacob lies in a very simple and unnecessary situation. He knows that a man who tells about his experience in bringing water to elephants lies, he still says nothing (Gruen 10). Isn’t it contradictory for Jacob Jankowski to cover a stranger’s lie and sacrifice personal house?

Jacob Jankowski appears in the text as a person of contradicting nature, he seems to be both a hero and a coward. After parents’ death, Jacob has to live alone. He goes to a circuit to try to battle a Depression. Jacob may be considered as a hero when he collects his mind and makes a decision to join a circuit as the life this community leads is too complicated and extremely difficult.

The ability to face this destiny impresses. However, the main character does not want to study. He drops exams as he is not sure, he is afraid of the future classes. He questions whether he is able to continue studying, he looks as a coward and disappears (Gruen 147).

There is one more contradicting feature of Jacob Jankowski which should be considered in the paper. Jacob appears to be thoughtful and impulsive at one and the same time. The author of the book makes this person reasonable as thinking back about his past life in the circus Jacob provides impressive arguments.

At the same time, his impulsive nature, like running to the circus or dropping the tests, tells absolutely different things about this person (Gruen 147). It seems a bad feature to have such a double nature, however, the story would be meaningless if Jacob turned out to be a simple person without particular traits.

Therefore, it may be concluded that Jacob Jankowski is a person of contrasts and contradicting nature. It seems rather difficult to be such kind of a person as one should constantly change personal opinion without believing in anything particular.

Jacob Jankowski can be called an unbalanced person due to his unstable mood, due to his actions motivated by outside factors, and because of lack of strong will. The comparison and contrast of the past and present with distance in many years seems to be one of the items the author tries to parallel with the main character’s contradicting features.

Works Cited

Gruen, Sara. Water for elephants: a novel. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2007. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'How Jacob, as a Complex Character, Often Appears to have Opposing Aspects/Parts to his Personality'. 25 October.

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