Last week, Donald Trump ended a ban on importing elephant trophies into the United States. A few days later, he announced via twitter that he was temporarily reversing that decision, pending a review (and by the time you read this the ban could be off once again). It would be nice to think Trump bowed to the public outcry but I don’t think that’s likely. Public outcry doesn’t seem to sway him one way or another.
But there was considerable uproar over the plight of the elephants and that’s no surprise. The revered elephant exemplifies power and strength and stands for honor, stability and tenacity. To Hindu people, the elephant is the god of luck, fortune and protection. In Denmark, there’s a religious group called the Order of the Elephant and in that context the animal stands for piety, gentleness and temperance. In Africa, the elephant represents cooperation, long life and devotion.
Whatever elephants symbolize to you personally, I think it’s fair to say these beloved giants have captivated us for centuries. Maybe that’s why they feature in a number of excellent novels. If you’re interested, here are a few books you might want to look for. The first two titles are mainstream; the third and fourth are for younger readers; and the final recommendation is a romance.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy
The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen