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Water for Elephants ?6

June 4, 2007

Reflecting on the fact that his platitudes and stories don’t hold his children’s interest, the elderly Jacob notes, “My real stories are all out of date. So what if I can speak firsthand about the Spanish flu, the advent of the automobile, world wars, cold wars, guerrilla wars, and Sputnik — that’s all ancient history now. But what else do I have to offer?” (page 110). How might we learn to appreciate the stories and life lessons of our elders and encourage people younger than ourselves to appreciate our own?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2007 12:06 pm

    I loved this book! It has a totally sappy ending, but I love it anyways!

  2. Donna permalink
    June 4, 2007 8:16 pm

    I sure wish I knew what we could do to help us appreciate the stories and life lessons of our elders. How I wish that I had asked my grandparents more about their lives. Wish I’d written them down.

    Is it because our culture emphasizes/worships the new and the young? Would it be a complete cultural change?

  3. June 5, 2007 2:02 pm

    Ah, the continuous problem of how we discard the elderly….I wish that I still had time to talk to my grandmother.

    I loved the sappy ending to this, too – the idea of running off with the circus (even at 90 or 93) is still so romantic albeit farfetched 🙂

  4. June 5, 2007 2:40 pm

    I think in part its always going to be a matter of shared interests. We make our friends, young or old, by sharing interests or an interest with them. I’m an avid knitter but plenty of my friends aren’t interested in this. Instead of feeling slighted by this instead we discuss things we both care about. I’m sure they have hobbies or interests that I’m not partial to too. Why shouldn’t it work the same way with our elders?

  5. June 5, 2007 2:45 pm

    Kim,
    I too enjoyed the ending. Like you said, it was a bit far fetched but would have been far more depressing had he died in that nursing home.

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