The grandeur part of it is all of what the Rubes see. Beautiful, talented people, amazing and almost magical opportunities. But behind the curtain, it's broken heels, murder, abuse, and a caste system that survives in modern circuses. That is the pathetic part. The rest of the world has graduated into a more "civilized" society where if you broke a foot your clients would be sympathetic and you wouldn't have to fear your boss's wrath causing you to not only get fired but murdered.
I agree, Stephanie.I found much of what was presented in "Water for Elephants" as pathetic with only a tinge of grandeur. As a matter of fact, I wonder if the very attraction to the book isn't a huge part for that reason and also for it's "shock value".I guess since I am the one reading the background story while not being able to experience the parades and death defying feats, all that is left is a miserable caste system, murderous intentions, greed, and exploitation of "freaks"... oh, and a lovely romance. :o)
I think what is also pathetic (besides the people working the circus) is the portrayal of the people who go to the circus. They are portrayed as stupid humans who are drawn to fat women or bearded women and other such "freaks". Perhaps it was because it was during the depression, but the people seemed so classless and sad to be drawn to that spectacle. Not only did they come out in droves, but there were several times where they all formed a mob and ran the circus out of town. The non-circus workers seem as crazy as the circus folks most of the time.
What can I say except ditto on all of the above :) Well stated ladies!
This weekend we cleaned out our garage and in an attempt to see if an old dvd player still worked, my DH popped in the movie, Chicago (one of my favorites). As always, when I am in front of any type of media, I get sucked in. While watching, I was struck by the similarities these two stories have in glamorizing murder and people who really have no respect for others while being driven by power, fame and greed. Check out the following song, Razzle Dazzle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn5-VN3SH1o