Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Wide Window, Chapter 7

These chapters of The Wide Window are quite short, which is making things quite easy for getting them written up. I can’t help but wonder how Daniel Handler organised them to ensure that there were a nice, neat, thirteen chapters in each book; were there some arbitrary chapter breaks or did things sort of come naturally in that there were obviously places where they should begin and end.


What Happens?

Mr Poe takes the children to meet Captain Sham at the Anxious Clown restaurant. When the Baudelaire fortune comes up in conversation, Sham pretends to be totally surprised to hear about it. In order to get away from Sham/Olaf Violet induces an allergic reaction in her siblings to give them a little extra time to think.

Thoughts as I read:

Here we are at Chapter Seven which is back to a typed font with a very happy looking meal beneath it. It’s some sort of burger with cheese, pickle and sauce making a smiley face and all the chips fanned out around the outside of the plate. Cheery. Just the sort of thing you’re going to feel like eating after your guardian has apparently killed herself and handed you over to an evil count in disguise.

“Hello, I’m Larry, your waiter,” said Larry, the Baudelaire orphans’ waiter.

I love that.

They’re having their lunch at the Anxious Clown restaurant which is like your worst nightmare of a fast food place. They have meals like the ‘Extra Fun Special Family Appetizer’. I bet Josephine would have some things to say about a name like that.

Sham/Olaf is playing up for his new family but the Baudelaire’s aren’t falling for it. Sham wants to share a bottle of wine with Poe which Mr Poe is not too keen on. Sham is coming out with things like ‘It’s not every day that a man becomes a father.’ which Mr Poe points out probably isn’t the most sensitive thing to say when the children have just lost their aunt.

Sham/Olaf is then compared to a chameleon. It’s an apt comparison; he’s ‘slimy’, ‘cold-blooded’ and can blend into situations with ease. When reminded that Aunt Josephine’s apparent death is a sad thing, Sham pretends that he is sad too, claiming Josephine was an old friend. Klaus points out that they barely knew each other at which point Sham starts claiming to have met Josephine at cooking school.

He’s got an elaborate story all planned out. They agreed that if anything happened to her, should she adopt some children, then he would take over their care and raise them as his own, yada yada yada. Larry thinks it’s a beautiful story and then recommends the ‘Cheer-Up Cheeseburgers’ which is apparently what we saw at the beginning of this chapter.

Mr Poe chooses this moment to bring up the fact that the Baudelaires are heir to a fortune, which becomes theirs when Violet comes of age. Sham is apparently shocked by this, though the only person he’s fooling is Poe. As Sham pretends to be surprised at the news that Violet is heir to a fortune Sunny shrieks “Duna!” meaning “Of course you do!”

Sham claims that he won’t touch the fortune:

“Well, that’s good,” Mr. Poe said, “because you can’t touch a penny of it.”
“We’ll see,” Captain Sham said.
”What?” Mr. Poe asked.

The food is bad in this restaurant. Think McDonalds. Everyone is distracted by their food, except Mr Poe who is telling a long boring story about the bank, which gives Violet the time she needs to put her plan from last chapter into action.

And what is the plan? Peppermints. Remember those sweets Mr Poe gave them a few days ago when they arrived. Well, Violet carefully takes out three of them and hands them to her brother and sister. Technically putting something you are allergic to into your mouth is very Bad Idea:

“If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats.”

Violet plans to give them more time by giving them all an allergic reaction. This is a good plan if you’re not allergic enough to something to go into full on anaphylactic shock. Considering the fact Sunny has never had a peppermint before, she’s kind of taking a risk here. I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. Poor Sunny gets the worst of it here; Violet gets hives, Klaus gets a swollen tongue and Sunny gets both!

They then claim that there is something in the food which much be causing the allergy. I feel for the kids here. I love mints. It would be awful to never actually enjoy them. I used to be a pack of Polos a day kind of girl.
Sham is decidedly unsympathetic to the Baudelaires’ plight. They’re disturbing his lunch which is irritating him. Mr Poe calls him on his attitude and says they’ll take the children home. Violet jumps in and tells them they can stay where they are but Sham/Olaf doesn’t want them to go anywhere without him. At least he’s now paying more attention to the children than to his food.

Violet manages to get them away while Mr Poe keeps Sham/Olaf occupied signing papers which will make him their guardian again. While they’re itchy, or have a swollen tongue, or both, they’re out of the clutches of Captain Sham for the time being. They’ve got a little bit of extra time so they’d better use it wisely.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think. :-)