Rachel Williams
Professor Churchill
English 68
22 September 2011

Have you seen the elephant? He has traveled a great distance but is not
recognized. The elephant had been through so much that he is on his last leg. His
body   is worn from head to toe and is near death. In the short story, “Wallace Porter- or
What It Means to See the Elephant,” Cathy Day uses Irene and George’s relationship
with Wallace Porter in order to show why Wallace buys the circus.
The relationship between Irene and Wallace lacks major communication. Throughout the story they both ignore what each other says, and only care about themselves. Wallace explains how he wants the best furniture for their mansion, but Irene does not even want the mansion. “To Irene, a chair was the price of a rail ticket, a dresser was a week’s stay in a hotel, and with each purchase the broad future she’d imagined shrank just a little bit more.” Wallace and Irene married each other for the wrong reasons, and that is the key problem of their relationship. Irene married Wallace because she thought he could give her an adventure, but he wants her to live as she was accustomed to. He wants her to stay at home and join the ladies circle. “Although he pleaded with her, Irene refused an invitation to join a local ladies circle. ‘I’ve had my fill of circles, thank you very much.’ ” Wallace Porter wants Irene to stay refined, and be his trophy wife. He would love for her to talk about him to her friends, about how much money he has and how well he treats her. Wallace Porter marries Irene to raise his social class and show off his money. In the beginning of their relationship there is nothing but miscommunication, until Wallace realizes what she really wants. “Porter felt his failure sitting like a gargoyle on his heart.” Wallace Porter finally listens to her, despite what he wants, and realizes that he has failed her as a husband. In the end , while Irene was on her death bed, he finally does one...