Neglectful Actions Lead to Destruction: The One and Only Ivan Essay Example



Based on the novel, The One & Only Ivan, the theme Neglectful Actions Lead to Destructio[a]n, is represented through Mack, the owner of the Big Top Mall, who is very neglectful to maintain a well-managed business. The mall has animals, stores, and a circus that performs daily. The animals are treated inhumanely along with being placed in a poor habitat. For example, in the domain, there is no nature,  [b]“A jungle scene is painted on one of my domain walls. It has a waterfall without water and flowers without scent and trees without roots”[c] (Applegate 14).

This shows that Mack is careless to add nature in the domain. Therefore, there is just a painting instead of nature. The animals’ domain is basically a cage: stone walls, bar rails, and no sense of nature[d]. Furthermore, Mack was very neglectful to provide physical care of the animals. Stella, an older elephant at the Big Top Mall, is suffering from a foot injury. She performs in the circus daily; consequently, making her injury more severe, “Stella’s foot hurts too much for her to do any hard tricks for the two-o’clock show. Instead, Mack pulls her, limping, into the ring, where she tracks a circle in the sawdust” (69).[e][f]  As a result of Mack’s neglectful actions, he waits to help Stella’s injury until it’s too late. Ultimately, Stella dies because of her injury[g], thus, Mack has no animal to fill Stella’s spot in the circus. The Big Top Mall ultimately begins to fall into destruction.

If Mack wasn’t so neglectful to his business, then this outcome could have been prevented. A neglectful person is someone who doesn’t care about something. He or she pays no consideration for whom they are to care for. In this case, the neglect was not taking care of the animals which led to the destruction of the mall. In addition, a decrease in interest for the circus resulted in lack of money.[h] This is shown through Mack’s attitude,  “It’s been two days since anyone’s come to visit. Mack is in a bad mood. He says we are losing money hand over fist” (29). However, had he’d known that in order to get “good” business, he had to take care of the animals which would take care of him. Ironically, following the irresponsible path that he did, likely to save money, led to a lack of money.[i] Eventually, all the animals were forced to be replaced in a more humane habitat with factors of nature and other animals in the habitats. A home where the animals felt safe, happy, and were well taken care of. What was bad for Mack led to what became good for the animals.

There are specific key craft moves that highlight this theme making it obvious how it is represented in this novel. For instance, the author uses short sentences to emphasize, or further explain the theme in just a few words. An example of this would be, “He goes to his office and slams the door shut” (147). It is clearly explaining how Mack is very upset because inspectors had come to the mall to inspect the animals along with their habitats. The inspections’ outcome resulted negatively, meaning that the animals would have to be found a better “home”. This relates to the theme because Mack’s neglectful actions led to poor business resulting in consequences. Additionally, another literary example of a craft move that the author uses to emphasize the theme, is a repetition of a word. For instance, during the inspection, the inspectors were marking many “checks” as a signal to the reader that it wasn’t going well.[j] This repetition of a word relates to the theme because it is the consequence of Mack's neglectful actions, however, it could have been prevented. Ultimately, it is a value to know that neglectful actions, presented by Mack, will eventually lead to destruction