Monday, 4 August 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Wide Window, Chapter 6

We’re about halfway through The Wide Window now, a little bit behind where I’d planned to be by this point, but I think we’re getting through it quite nicely despite the hiccough.

What Happens?

Mr Poe is neither convinced that Josephine’s note was forged nor that Captain Sham is also Count Olaf. They prove that the note was written by Josephine, meaning it is a legal document so the children will be handed over to Captain Sham. Mr Poe speaks to Captain Sham and starts making arrangements for the Baudelaires’ adoption. They’re to go to lunch with him immediately and Violet needs to come up with a way to give them more time so Klaus can plan out their next steps.

Thoughts as I read:

There’s a nice little merge between the chapter heading and the chapter illustration here. Rather than being in the standard chapter typeface it’s handwritten in a shaky but somewhat fancy script, all joined up. It’s kind of shunted to the right side of the page to make room for the rest of the illustration, which is a hand holding a quill finishing up the squirly underline beneath the header. I’m not sure if it’s at all relevant but the hand holding the quill is the left hand, we know how important handedness was in the first book.

The children have revealed to Mr Poe that they suspect Aunt Josephine’s note is a forgery, filling him in on all the grammatical errors. Mr Poe is not convinced, he’s not sure that Captain Sham would want to bother with murdering someone to get custody of the Baudelaires. Oh, and he doesn’t believe that Sham is Olaf. His reasoning is not exactly foolproof:

“Remember when you lived with Uncle Monty? You were convinced that his assistant, Stephano, was really Count Olaf in disguise.”
“But Stephano was Count Olaf in disguise,” Klaus exclaimed.

At least Mr Poe does take a slightly practical approach to solving the problem. They have to compare the note with something else written by Josephine. This is something that the Baudelaires didn’t consider and so allows Mr Poe to have a little gloat at them. Lovely man. Sunny’s “Chuni!” means “Let’s go to the kitchen and get it” when they decide to go look for Josephine’s shopping list to compare the writing.

We then get a whole paragraph on what graphologists do and when you might need one. This is relevant because the Baudelaires don’t need one to tell that the note was written by Josephine. There’s quite a bit of detail here explaining all of Josephine’s little graphological quirks. I think it would’ve been kind of cool to have the actual note in the text here alongside the shopping list to show exactly what Snicket means here. I don’t know how that would actually work, but it’d be cool nonetheless.

The fact that Josephine definitely wrote the note means it is a legal document and Captain Sham will now be their legal guardian. Mr Poe likes to play pretty fast and loose with the guardianship of the Baudelaires. The children protest against this, even “Gind!” from Sunny meaning “Please don’t make us live with this evil man.” But despite their not being a fan of is, Sham is their guardian and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Wouldn’t you like to have someone like this taking care of your children’s affairs if you weren’t around?

When the children suggest running away, Mr Poe tells them that their parents wouldn’t want them to make a fuss. Oh yeah, he’s an absolute star. Snicket points out the the Baudelaire parents probably would not have felt this way, but unfortunately they’re not here and they foolishly put all their trust in Poe.

Violet and Klaus know that they have to do something to get out of their latest predicament. They don’t have long either. Mr Poe has spoken to Captain Sham and he’s made plans to hand them over to them that afternoon. This is clearly not a Good Thing.

Luckily Klaus seems to be thinking things over and beginning to come up with a plan. Unfortunately he’s still working on it and will need more time to finalise what he wants to do. This is something that they do not have. So not only do they need to figure out a way to get out of the clutches of Sham/Olaf but they also need to give themselves some time to think.

Klaus calls on Violet to invent a way to give them more time. Clearly she is not capable of creating a time machine in the few minutes they have before the taxi arrives. But all the same, she ties up her hair and suddenly an idea occurs to her.

Any guesses as to what she’s come up with?

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