Friday, 22 August 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Miserable Mill, Chapter 5

As usual, this is the last Chapter-by-Chapter review for the week. It's a pretty long one (at least compared to some of the others this week) so stick with me here.

What Happens?

Time passes and the children still suspect that Olaf will pounce on them at some opportunity. They consider all the people that could potentially be Olaf in disguise but on the whole try to stay optimistic about the whole scenario and plan what they would like to do with with the Baudelaire fortune.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter opens up with one of those pictures that Helquist is so good at; random things that you might just need a bit of help to imagine. This one is all the equipment in the lumbermill so we've got big piles of logs stacked up on one side of the page, a crane thing which is holding a big bit of tree, a ball of twine in a cage and a big circular saw in the middle of a conveyor belt. None of it looks like the sort of thing children should be allowed anywhere near!

We jump ahead a few days in the opening of this chapter, learning that nothing much has improved for the children. They're fairly certain that it's only a matter of time before they encounter Count Olaf again and they're basically living as indentured slaves at a lumbermill.

Despite my suspicions that Foreman Flacutono may actually be Count Olaf, Snicket tells us that he actually looks quite different. Flacutono has dark, beady eyes instead of shiny ones and his voice is different. I can't remember what happens in this book so it's killing me trying to remember who Count Olaf turns out to be. Nor is he any of the other employees in the mill, they're all too miserable to look evil.

The work is still just as hard as the first day as they move through the different tasks expected of them at the mill, each one less suitable for children than the last. Meanwhile the children seem to be focusing much of their energy on working out where Olaf will spring from, considering all the signs pointing to the fact that he's likely to be in the area (namely, they're in it and they've seen two things with his eye on them). Sunny sums up their feeling about this quite well when she says "Elund!" meaning "It is certainly perplexing."

Violet suggests that maybe Sir is Olaf, though Klaus shoots this down by pointing out that Sir is a lot shorter than their former guardian and Sunny agrees with "Chorn!" meaning "And his voice sounds nothing like Count Olaf's."

Now I could suggest that the children are being a little bit paranoid here, as they're just waiting for something bad to happen and Olaf to appear as if from nowhere to try and hurt them, but given previous events I really can't blame them. Plus it's almost inevitable that Olaf and his cronies will catch up with them, so they might as well make sure that they're prepared for it.

Klaus does try a little bit of optimism on for size here though, perhaps Phil has been getting to him. He suggests that maybe they are in fact safe from Olaf in Paltryville. Sunny responds to this with "Pelli!" meaning "But that doesn't explain the eye-shaped building, or the cover of the book!" leading to a brief debate on whether this was in fact a coincidence. Phil shows up at one point and they compliment him on his optimism (or in Sunny's case she says "Tenpa").

They really do try to be optimistic as Violet realises that they'll only have to work there for a short time because once she comes of age they'll get the money. This leads them on to making all kinds of plans for what they would like to spend some of the fortune on; Violet wants to build an inventing studio at Lake Lachrymose, Klaus wants to build a library and buy back Monty's collection of reptiles, and Sunny says "Dolc!" meaning "And I could be a dentist!"

Charles does show up to give the children some beef jerky, he's not really that bad a guy, just utterly powerless against Sir who is a bit of a tyrannical business owner. Sir's not the only tyrant in the mill, Flacutono won't let the Baudelaires talk to Charles when there's work to be done.

Flacutono proves once again that even if he isn't Olaf, he is just as bad as the count. He sticks his foot out so that Klaus trips over it. As Klaus is the only one of the Baudelaire trio who wears glasses you can imagine what happens at this moment. Obviously Flacutono denies that this is what has happened but it doesn't change the fact that the consequence of his actions is pretty damn serious for Klaus. Sunny points out "Rotup!" which isn't defined but basically means that Klaus's glasses are kind of buggered up.

Charles is still on the scene and even though he's totally unable to stand up to Sir, he doesn't have too much difficulty standing up to Flacutono. And so Klaus is led away to go and see Dr Orwell the eye doctor in town. Guess what building the good doctor's premises is designed to look like?

Violet is suitably horrified by the prospect of her brother being taken away to a building shaped like Olaf's ankle tattoo, but work is beginning in the mill again and Charles is unable to hear what the eldest Baudelaire is saying. Even Sunny tries with "Yoryar!" but the Baudelaires are separated which almost never goes well for them.

I'll be back on Monday with Chapter 6 so we'll see what happens then. Have a good weekend!

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