Giving a voice to the Vanishing Elephant

The story “The vanishing Elephant” is narrated by a man who is very invested in the vanishing elephant and works throughout the story to try and understand why the elephant disappeared. The man starts off this with a detailed background of the elephant and his keeper, both old but very unified with each other. We don’t ever read about their thoughts but I think that the narrator is their voice, especially the elephant. It shows unity between the keeper and the elephant in a very divided community because some want the elephant killed. We can see through the narrator’s thoughts, “They[the elephant and the keeper] had been together for more than 10 years, and you could snse their closeness in every gesture and look”(313), that the keeper cares a lot for the elephant and vice versa. When the elephant vanished we learn that the narrator would watch it from afar and the day before it vanished we learn that the narrator thought he saw the elephant shrink. I think it is not that it shrunk but that the narrator actually saw the keeper and the elephant as equal. Because the community saw the elephant as either a burden or a symbol of the town, it wasn’t really seen as equal to people and therefore not seen as having feelings. This is why the narrator gives us insight as to why he imagined the elephant as shrinking. He may have seen them as both having feelings and both equal.

2 thoughts on “Giving a voice to the Vanishing Elephant

  1. Owen S

    I really agree with you on how you viewed him thinking the elephant shrunk. I did not view his statement this way but now I understand and agree with what you said. I find it interesting how he is very interested with the elephant where many other in the town seem no to care very much. I also find it interesting the conversation he has with the women at the bar. The way he describes the elephant is interesting and the way he views it. Overall, I like the way you explained the confusion in the story.


  2. Joe H.

    Sam, I agree that the keeper and elephant were seen to be the same size because they had a relationship of unity. I am interested to know why the balance was shown on this specific night.


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