What is so fascinating about circus life?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Re: What is so fascinating about circus life?

Post by sanjus » 08 Jun 2018, 10:24

i feel that it is a mixed bag, there are many persons working for the circus and their purpose to join the circus and make it as their lively hood are different. some may find entertaining people with their talent is their goal of life, and most could be helpless and for getting bread butter and shelter join the circus, whereas there could be few who might have screwed up their family life and run away from family to join circus to seek peace

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Post by Shraddha_rc » 09 Jun 2018, 07:20

The most fascinating about circus life for me is the risk they take to earn money. I feel bad because they have nothing else but the job to do which can be fatal. This scares me and fascinates me too.

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Post by Vlinstry » 09 Jun 2018, 13:23

cristinaro wrote:
13 May 2018, 10:02
Vlinstry wrote:
01 May 2018, 11:32
Still reading the book but I can say that I have always found the circus life so alluring. I am a weird one because I don't actually like going to what most people think of as the circus as I am terrified of clowns, but I do love the more traditional cirucus' with the ideas being centred around misfits and the strange, yet wonderful. I love the pull of the circus. I love that it seems like a way of escaping the every day. It looks like it is a way to be part of a faimily and to bring joy to lots of other people at the same time.

Once I have finished the book I will be able to answer your other questions.
I don't find clowns so amusing either, yet I used to go to the circus and I am still going sometimes. It's interesting you mentioned misfits and the strange in connection with the circus. There is this novel I have read - The Gaze by Elif Shafak. It's about the weird love affair between an obese woman and a dwarf. In a magical realist sort of way, all kinds of other characters emerge. In the past, one of these characters has the idea of building up a cherry-colored tent where women come to see the ugliest creature and men come to see the most beautiful girl in the world. It's all connected to people's "gaze", voyeurism, prejudice, self-sufficiency, the readiness to judge, etc.

The book you mentioned sounds really interesting and I will definitely be giving it a look. Thanks! :)

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Post by 10mile72 » 09 Jun 2018, 16:34

The book is not exactly an advertisement for circus like. 22 hour workdays? No wonder Gary had to take drugs.

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Post by Ada4nathan » 09 Jun 2018, 16:44

I've never been to a circus before, but I'm fascinated by their shows on tv's. I really don't like that a circus performer usually has no other life than the circus. The circus becomes their family. I especially don't like the travelling circus, not like I know much about it. But I won't like the idea I have of it.

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Post by ZenaLei7 » 10 Jun 2018, 18:05

I don't think the circus life is for me, but it is definitely fascinating. I feel like all the people who are part of a circus are like a tight-knit family. I have and would definitely go to a circus again. I love seeing the acrobats and the tightrope walker, but I hate seeing animals since I've read stories about how they are mistreated. I think Duke is satisfied with his new life as a sword swallower.
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Post by Morgan Jones » 11 Jun 2018, 21:16

It's strange. It's entrancing. It's pure raw talent and revealing who you really are without the fear of society judging you. Also, the tricks that you though could never be possible yet, there are performers who do it so easily and effortlessly. Like they're being set free and this feeling of freedom is automatically transfered to you too (at least until the performance ends.)
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Post by Londera » 11 Jun 2018, 22:27

I think its the idea of everything not being what it seems and the atmosphere of magic and fun.

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Post by chelhack » 12 Jun 2018, 03:08

You have some very good questions...

I believe that the image of circus life is underrated or not really seen nor thought of as more than what meets the eye. Which to me actually before reading this book was merely entertainment purpose and or value. Most of the time in my own perspective when seeing a circus worker/performer they seemed to have that own the road living look about themselves but not much more had to perform/entertainers, on the road living, here a couple of days then pack up and heading to the next venue. So to answer that question in my own opinion I do not believe that they are seen in the light of just everyday humans beings some with good hearts good intentions, some with deformities that have come to accept their fate and use that to provide entertainment.

I would still go to the circus and take my daughter if they happen to be in our area and even though this is a fiction book, I believe that I will appreciate it more in some ways
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Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 03:20

chelhack wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 03:08
You have some very good questions...

I believe that the image of circus life is underrated or not really seen nor thought of as more than what meets the eye. Which to me actually before reading this book was merely entertainment purpose and or value. Most of the time in my own perspective when seeing a circus worker/performer they seemed to have that own the road living look about themselves but not much more had to perform/entertainers, on the road living, here a couple of days then pack up and heading to the next venue. So to answer that question in my own opinion I do not believe that they are seen in the light of just everyday humans beings some with good hearts good intentions, some with deformities that have come to accept their fate and use that to provide entertainment.

I would still go to the circus and take my daughter if they happen to be in our area and even though this is a fiction book, I believe that I will appreciate it more in some ways
I guess I'd do exactly the same thing. I'd still go to the circus. Books like this only add to my former childhood fascination with the circus world in spite of the realistic description of the harsh living conditions of the circus people.
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Post by folkshot » 12 Jun 2018, 10:43

I still like the circus but I think a lot of the animals are mistreated. My husband won't go to the zoo or the circus with us because he has such strong feelings about it. I don't like clowns, they are never funny. I do like the acrobatics and other such skills, such as sword swallowing.

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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes » 12 Jun 2018, 15:58

This all depends on your standpoint. The spectators are out to enjoy, see some amazing animals, freak shows or magic tricks. The performers are out to have their adrenaline fixes by doing daring stunts, or the letdown of their lives if their act has lost its novelty.
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Post by Nmesoma » 13 Jun 2018, 20:36

What I love most about the circus life is the fact that everyone can forget about the strict protocols of life and become crazy without being held accountable for it. I think Duke was a bit dissatisfied, probably he'd do something else if he saw the chance. But I love the circus and for me; I would say that Duke who comes from a dysfunctional family should relate more to life in the circus.

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Post by Mouricia25 » 13 Jun 2018, 22:58

A fake sense of freedom, exploration (circuses travel a lot), and forever being happy is what pulls people. They never stop to think that it is still work and you need to make loads of sacrifices.

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Post by amcanelly3 » 15 Jun 2018, 17:54

I also hated that we got such a small glimpse of the circus life and the people Duke called family. And I feel the same way you do about the circus being a foreign country. It's exotic and mysterious and even though it's a constant it's always moving so it never truly has any routes. And most people can't live that kind of life so it's it's own wonder by itself. Of course people will flock to the circus. Even though it's not as prevalent today the circus is still around and it's still talented people doing extraordinary things.
P0tt3ry wrote:
01 May 2018, 09:56
The circus has always fascinated me because it seems to be a foreign country that travels from place to place. My father was a carnie during his teens and early twenties. He'd entertain us with stories of the behind-the-scene aspects of tear-down and set-up, including the mishaps. I visualized a close family on a constant adventure. The book described circus life but not in-depth. I wanted to know more about the Duke's circus family and was disappointed that people he was close to just disappeared from the story. Duke was an adrenaline junky and sword swallowing, with the constant chance of death, satisfied the itch. Adding more and more acts struck me as a way for him to find new ways to achieve the adrenaline high.

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