Friday, 8 August 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Wide Window, Chapter 10

I’m really impressed with myself at getting all of these posts written this week, what with having to get organised to go away. Especially as my not getting back until Monday means that I’m trying to get far enough ahead of myself to be able to post everything in advance. We’ve only got another three chapters after this, so we’re doing quite well, I think.

What Happens?

The Baudelaires figure out how to steer the boat across the lake and they find a strange wailing sound coming from Curdled Cave. Inside is Aunt Josephine and she plans for them all to live in the cave from now 
on to escape from Count Olaf.

Thoughts as I read:

It’s kind of ironic that I’m reading this book right now, and so writing this review post at the same time, because this chapter image shows a bunch of boaty ropey things. Clearly they are an important part of a sailing boat though as I don’t sail I can’t really identify them as anything more specific than ropey things. We’ve been watching the Pirates of the Caribbean films recently and as I read I’ve got some of the special features playing, quite fitting for this chapter picture’s subject matter really.

Snicket opens the chapter by explaining that the publishers are concerned about readers trying to do what the children do in the books, which are obviously not really the sorts of things that real world children should be getting up to. Of all the things that the children have gotten up to, even just in this book, Snicket chooses to warn children against sailing across Lake Lachrymose in the middle of a hurricane. As I’ve mentioned before this is a Bad Thing.

Nonetheless, it’s what the children are up to at the moment. We’re given a quick inventory of what supplies can be found in the boat; Olaf has provided his customers with life jackets (surprisingly safety conscious of him), a sail, ropes, oars, a tiller, a bucket, fishing rod and net, and a telescope. The children do have the presence of mind to put on their life jackets and then Klaus and Violet pool their knowledge of sailing to work out how to steer the little boat.

Klaus works out where they are using the map in the book and Sunny takes her place at the back of the 
boat, saying “Karg tem!” meaning “I’m going to move the tiller this way, in order to steer the boat according to Klaus’s recommendation.” Which is quite a lot to squeeze into two syllables! When this actually works and the boat goes where it is supposed to the Baudelaires are all so surprised that they start to laugh. It’s kind of sweet in a sad way.

We get a couple more place names here, more landmarks in the lake. There’s the Wicked Whirlpool and the Rancorous Rocks. Sounds like such a lovely place to visit. When they see the Lavender Lighthouse they know that they’re almost at Curdled Cave. The waves die down and Klaus comments that the lake actually looks quite pretty, Sunny agrees with a “Cind”.

We also get a big full page picture at this point, as we’ve become used to expect by around this point in the story as we’re now well over halfway through it. This one shows the little boat virtually horizontal on the waves. Sunny is steering and Violet is pulling on ropes. Klaus is looking at the atlas but it almost looks as though he’s relaxing at the side of the boat with a good book. It’s also worth noting that despite being described as putting on their life jackets, none of the children are wearing them in this picture or in the picture on the cover. Clearly these images are merely artistic representations of the children, doesn’t stop them from looking awesome though.

And while I’ve been examining this picture, Violet has sighted the cave. Right outside it is a sign saying that it’s for sale. Prime piece of real estate that, clearly. Hopefully it’s not Snicket who wrote the estate agents’ blurb for the place because it’s described as being pretty creepy with jagged rocks like shark teeth. There’s a weird sound coming from inside the cave, kind of a wailing noise and that, more than anything else, scares the Baudelaires.

It’s actually Sunnny who coaxes her siblings into the cave with “Geni” which means “We didn’t sail a stolen sailboat across Lake Lachrymose in the middle of Hurricane Herman just to stand nervously at the mouth of a cave.” Which is a fair point after all. So they all head inside.

And who is the wailing coming from? Why it’s Aunt Josephine, of course! And she’s very pleased that they managed to figure out her secret message and find her. She’s some guardian, isn’t she, getting in with Count Olaf, leaving messages for children to solve and then expecting them to come and find her. The children are all sweet and give each other credit for their achievement, which really just goes to show how well they all work together and why they are best when they pool their respective talents.

Of course the one thing that Josephine didn’t manage to mention in her letter was that they were supposed to bring their luggage and some food with them to the cave. She isn’t just hiding out, she’s moving in and she’s quite confused about why the children have come to the cave if they’re not going to live with her. Sunny responds to this with “Stim!” meaning “Because we were worried about you!” but Josephine tells her she’s not speaking correctly and turns to the elder Baudelaires for clarification.

And we learn what we already suspected; Olaf made Josephine write the note otherwise he would’ve killed her and she agreed. She couldn’t call for help because she was scared to use the phone, instead she left the note, broke the window and got away. And the rest we know.

The Baudelaires are understandably pissed at this turn of events. Josephine is quite a self-absorbed sort of person and it seems that she wasn’t thinking of the Baudelaires at all while all this was going on, especially considering how vulnerable recent events have made them and the warnings they tried to give her. It’s all a bit of a cock up really. Now would be her moment to step up and be the guardian that they need her to be, but when Violet tells her that they’re all going back to town Josephine’s response is:

“No way, José,” Aunt Josephine said, using an expression which means “No way” and has nothing to do with José, whoever he is.

Violet points out all of the times that they’ve been afraid since they came to live with Josephine but this just leads her to point out that they’re all obviously braver than she is. But Klaus has figured out how to get her to leave. Remember that ‘For Sale’ sign, remember Josephine’s irrational fear of realtors, well, those two things mean that even if Josephine stays in the cave she’ll still be forced to face one of her biggest fears. This does it and she finally agrees to leave.

And that’s it from me this week as well. Tomorrow, while you’re reading Part 2 of my Prisoner of Azkaban review I will be getting ready for a family wedding. Hopefully by the time that the review for Chapter 11 is posted on Monday I will be back home and ready to get on with the rest of the reviews. See you on the other side!

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