Pure Pure question

What does the ending mean?!!! (spoiler alert)
deleted member (last edited Feb 16, 2012 07:51AM ) Feb 16, 2012 06:50AM
This book is amazing, absolutely loved it, but was confused by the last two pages. Baratte is about to give his report to the minister, but finds the building empty. He goes outside and sees people running by regularly with cloth over their faces. At this point I'm expecting some final 'the revolution is starting' scene. He follows the runners to a shed. Inside the shed, where all people are running to, they are hauling what I guess is an elephant encased in wine bottles and netting. What does it mean?! I looked up revolution and elephant to see if there was a connection, but only found that an elephant somewhat connected the fall of Napoleon's empire because of a failed statue project. Am I missing something obvious?

Don't know if this will help .... The elephant was a symbol of imperial power that was turned into a memory the French wished they could forget.
In 16 June 1792, the area occupied by the Bastille was turned into a square celebrating liberty. In 1808, as part of several urban improvement projects for Paris, Napoleon planned to have a monument in the shape of an elephant built here, the Elephant of the Bastille. It was designed to be 24 m (78 ft) in height, and to be cast from the bronze of cannons taken from the Spanish. Access to the top was to be achieved by a stairway set in one of the legs. However, only a full scale plaster model was built. Victor Hugo immortalised the monument in the novel Les Misérables where it is used as a shelter by Gavroche. The monument was demolished in 1846.
I assume therefore that Miller's reference to the elephant is in refence to the impending Revolution.

Vikash Goyal this certainly answers to a large extent. Thnx Peter.
Apr 14, 2012 11:35PM · flag
U 25x33
Fonkelwijn Jean-Baptiste feels pity for the overseer of the removal of the elephant at Versailles, a work even more disgusting than the work he was overseeing at ...more
Jan 13, 2013 01:29PM · flag

i loved this book too but nevertheless found myself wondering whether I had understood it properly. Who and why did the attacking and ditto the murdering? Felt as though I had missed something at that point but when I read the final pages decided that no-one could have understood the reason for the elephant even though it was mentioned right at the beginning of the book. Perhaps I should re-read it unless someone can come up with an explanation?

Ah so thats what it was all about! Sorry but I gave up on this book half way through as I was totally bored with it and skipped to the last few pages to see how it finished, I obviously didn't miss much!

So it was a real goddamned elephant? I'm such an idiot, I decided it was just a statue of one.

Sharlene (last edited May 28, 2012 01:17PM ) May 28, 2012 02:07AM   0 votes
If you refer to pages 6/7 of the book, the minister tells Jean-Baptiste that there is an elephant 'somewhere' in the palace that lives on burgundy wine. As the previous comment by Peter states, the elephant was the symbol of imperial power, therefore the probable killing of the elephant by the people at the end is warning of the revolution to come. Probably!!

The ending was very distorted but the inexplicable elephant, to me, was a symbol and signifier for revolution. The book had lots of oddly interesting characters development which I'd really enjoy!

I also thought of Les Miserable, when I read the ending. I thought the ending was very apt, corruption and decay that pervaded the palace. Strong symbolism there, I actually reread the ending to grasp the full extent of it.

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