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 bookiegalke » 18 Jun 2018, 01:01

I've never gone to a circus for the simple fact that they don't interest me at all
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Post by atonykamau » 18 Jun 2018, 02:32

I can't really say I have any experience I the matter but it does sound fun to attend a circus

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Post by TaaraLynn » 20 Jun 2018, 14:42

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.
"A close family on a constant adventure." My childhood imagination and thoughts about the circus. A family doing something they all enjoyed. Together. While creating bonds with other doing the same. One big family.

I haven't read this, but it is sad that Duke's circus family goes off into oblivion. Especially, since it seems they had a bond and maybe helped to shape him.
"Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset." - Ponyboy Curtis, The Outsiders

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Post by psychopathycathy » 20 Jun 2018, 18:21

I've read a few circus books in my life like The Night Circus and Water for Elephants, and they always make the circus life sound absolutely magical. I don't think I've been to the circus in over a decade, but I would want to go again after reading this book!

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Post by Ayomaamianda » 23 Jun 2018, 02:54

Circus is way of entertainment as people show their talents and skills but i can't see myself living a circus life. From the story circus life is depicted as a care free life, a life full of adventure and without limits. I think it will be difficult for me to watch circus performance as it will scare me even though am comfortable with reading circus stories. As for Duke he knew that one day he will leave his circus life.

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Post by pricklypurple » 23 Jun 2018, 08:00

I used to want to be this person. I dreamed of running away and becoming a carnie. I think the circus life is so interesting. Of course, it then becomes your whole life; your family, and you most likely experience a separation from the rest of the world. I don't go to the circus anymore. Although, when I am in Vegas I occasionally will stop by the shows at Circus Circus. I don't think only children can appreciate the skill involved.

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Post by Kmykel » 23 Jun 2018, 11:19

Life in the circus is romanticized because it is so different from our everyday lives. The performers are out there in a different city every night, putting their lives on the line for the sake of entertainment. It is absolutely fascinating.

I go whenever I see that one is close to me. I respect people who have enough confidence their skills that they cheat death on a nightly basis. I find it very compelling.

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Post by Silahmom » 25 Jun 2018, 10:39

I havent finished the book so I cant answer all the questions.

But I'm like the sport of the circus! I love seeing people fly through the air and do tricks but I do not like the way the animals seem to be treated.

I do not go to the circus anymore. It's just not my favorite. I'd rather go to a movie!

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Post by Lil Reads » 25 Jun 2018, 13:05

While I have the book in my TBR pile, I have a theory about the appeal of circus life.

In a circus, many of the things we worry about in our lives are not a concern. Flat tire? We have to either repair it ourselves or pay someone to. In the circus, multiple people can work together to fix it. You don't have to do minor house repairs (e.g. replace light bulbs, repaint walls, mow the lawn, etc.) or deal with minor annoyances, rude neighbors or local businesses closing down, that people with a permanent address do.

Back during the 1800s, circuses also offered an alternative option for many people struggling or wanting to have a better life. People like the conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker were able to make money in the circus; many people were exploited by circus owners, but some saw it as their only way to earn a living or to be independent. I know some historians and authors have explored the ethical issues of this, but I cannot remember any specific authors, articles, or books right now. It is similar to why people became pirates - they really felt they had no other option and some times it was somewhat worth it, others it was not.

It is also sort of an old trope in literature - struggling individual (sometimes unwanted kids, sometimes stuck in an unhealthy family situation, sometimes facing financial struggle, sometimes not wanting to fill an expected role, sometimes with a skill no one seems to appreciate, etc) joins the circus, finds a group of misfits they connect with, gain money and fame as they develop a skill, triumph over their childhood bully or win over a childhood love interest, and triumph. Batman the Animated Series had a variation of this with a Killer Croc story-line in the episode "Sideshow" where he is rescued by former circus performers and connects with many of them.

It may be summarized as an idea of freedom from the minor irritants of life and some chances to travel and have a close family of choice.
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Post by Bookwormgirl1 » 26 Jun 2018, 11:20

I haven't been to the circus since I was six years old and so I don't remember much about it. I do remember the feeling of awe and loving the animals and the acrobatics. I would love to go again someday and would be interested to see how closely the actual circus resembles the descriptions in the book.

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Post by Aubrey Cana Laine » 27 Jun 2018, 09:27

I've never gone to a circus before, but I think I would greatly enjoy the acts they perform there. I've watched circus acts though, and they sometimes look like illusions, mainly because I can't believe that they can even pull them off. It's really fascinating in a way.

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Post by Riszell » 27 Jun 2018, 10:24

Aubrey Cana Laine wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 09:27
I've never gone to a circus before, but I think I would greatly enjoy the acts they perform there. I've watched circus acts though, and they sometimes look like illusions, mainly because I can't believe that they can even pull them off. It's really fascinating in a way.
I agree. I suggest you watch the movie The Greatest Showman. You will enjoy it plus you'll have more ideas of what circus really looks like.

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Post by Riszell » 27 Jun 2018, 10:27

:)
Bookwormgirl1 wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 11:20
I haven't been to the circus since I was six years old and so I don't remember much about it. I do remember the feeling of awe and loving the animals and the acrobatics. I would love to go again someday and would be interested to see how closely the actual circus resembles the descriptions in the book.
You sure have an awesome childhood for having watched a circus live when you were young. Though the memories of the event now are not that clear for you anymore, what's important is that you remember the amazing feeling the show gave you.

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Post by anix67 » 27 Jun 2018, 17:13

What I think is so great about the circus is simply the chance to enjoy something great you don't see everyday. It's kind of like this special and cool little place that is separate from the rest of the world.

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Post by anix67 » 27 Jun 2018, 17:14

Riszell wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 10:27
:)
Bookwormgirl1 wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 11:20
I haven't been to the circus since I was six years old and so I don't remember much about it. I do remember the feeling of awe and loving the animals and the acrobatics. I would love to go again someday and would be interested to see how closely the actual circus resembles the descriptions in the book.
You sure have an awesome childhood for having watched a circus live when you were young. Though the memories of the event now are not that clear for you anymore, what's important is that you remember the amazing feeling the show gave you.
This sounds really amazing! I have to admit that I'm a little jealous you got to go when you were younger! That you still remember those feelings seems be proof of how great the circus can be.

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