Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Carnivorous Carnival, Chapter 8

This post was originally scheduled for about ten days ago, so we're not so far behind in the grand scheme of things. Here comes Chapter 8 of The Carnivorous Carnival.


What Happens?

Esme shows up at the caravan to suggest a little business proposition to the 'freaks'. She wants them to toss Madame Lulu into the lion pit instead of one of the 'freaks'. In return they will be allowed to join Olaf's troupe. Hugo, Kevin and Colette immediately agree to this, but the Baudelaires are against it. Esme gives them a little time to think it over, reminding them that there is nowhere else for them to go.

Thoughts as I read:

I was momentarily distracted by this page as there's a bit of writing that shows at the very bottom of the page of this book. I don't think that's supposed to be there. The only letters I can make out are the last three: USA. Anyway.

The picture shows someone wearing a dress which may be patterned with the stylised V.F.D. eye/logo design, it's all sort of swirly shapes at least. The woman is wearing a sash that says 'I [heart] freaks]'. I'm going to guess it's Esme Squalor, it's the sort of thing she would probably put on.

Having left Madame Lulu/Olivia, the children have returned to the caravan where the others are playing dominoes and making tom ka gai. We're told just what's in tom ka gai and I'm sold on it, it has water chestnuts which are quite possibly one of my very favourite things to eat! Which is really not the point of this bit as the children are so nervous and wound up they can barely eat.

Colette comments on how quiet everyone is, apparently feeling relatively unconcerned about the prospect of being eaten by a lion. Klaus points out that it's not really an 'interesting dilemma' at all, considering the fact they they're expected to just jump into a pit of hungry lions for the entertainment of the masses.

Unfortunately for the other inhabitants of the freaks' caravan, they're pretty much resigned to their fates. After all, they've taken Madame Lulu's motto to heart, they must give the people what they want, and what they want is to see lions eating people. But the Baudelaires cannot seem to convince the 'freaks' that there is anything else more worthwhile for them to do with their lives.

They do seem to make some progress, however, with Klaus telling them that 'opportunity can knock at any moment'. Sure enough, at that moment there is a knock on the door. It's not opportunity, though. It's Esme.

Unfortunately Hugo sees this as his 'opportunity' and all the other 'freaks' resolve to be as unfreakish as possible. Sure enough it was Esme that we saw in the picture at the beginning of the chapter, wearing her 'I [heart] freaks' sash as well as a fancy ballgown type dress. She's also got a fake head attached to her shoulder and a cushion to make it look like she has a hunchback, this is to demonstrate how much she likes freaks. Unfortunately Colette tells Esme she looks 'very freakish' which Esme is a little bit put out about. Silly Esme.

Esme starts sucking up to Colette, Kevin and Hugo, who fall for it completely. Colette is so happy she twists her body into a K and an S shape. Suspect those are going to be some new important initials now we're learning a little more about V.F.D. Apparently Esme is sad to think of her new friends being eaten by lions. Not sad enough to consider not throwing them to the lions, of course, but sad nonetheless.

Klaus's comments about an opportunity coming knocking are about to backfire, because that's just what Esme is offering them. An opportunity to join Count Olaf's troupe. Hugo questions what this job description actually involves:

"It's a theatrical troupe," she said, "so you'd be wearing costumes and doing dramatic exercises, and occasionally committing crimes."

Sounds like a brilliant opportunity. Definitely one not to be missed!

Hugo, Kevin and Colette are thrilled by the prospect. Even though it means doing pretty much all that they do now, just with a greater likelihood of committing crimes. Olaf doesn't even mind working with people who are as strange as them. I suspect that's probably got something to do with the fact that he's just as strange as they are!

Now there is a sort of a job interview for this position, but Esme reassures them that it's relatively simple. All that's required of them is to throw Madame Lulu to the lions the following morning. It's easy.

Thankfully this does give them a moment of pause. Though it's just a moment. Esme convinces them by saying that it's what everyone wants. Sunny adds 'Grr' to this, meaning 'Everybody except Lulu' but Hugo, Colette and Kevin don't understand her and are beginning to see that this might actually be a good thing to do after all. Jeez! Adults in these books are morons!

Colette is possibly the most normal of all of them and asks why they should throw Madame Lulu into the pit. Well done Colette. In short it's because Esme is jealous and doesn't want Olaf buying another woman presents any more. Violet voices her skepticism of the plan, but Esme thinks that they've all agreed to do what she wants so starts handing out presents.

Hugo gets a big coat to cover his hunchback, Colette gets a big baggy rob to cover her twisty body, Kevin gets a rope to tie one hand behind his back (so he can be 'left-handed, like normal people', hehe). Even the Baudelaires aren't overlooked. Sunny, or rather Chabo, gets a razor, while Violet and Klaus get a sack to put over one of their heads to make them look like they only have one. Violet, Klaus and Sunny are not particularly enthusiastic about this.

When Hugo and Colette ask them what's wrong Violet is forced to say that they don't think this is something they should do. Esme is absolutely shocked by this development, as are the others, after all as Sunny is part wolf she must be dying to watch someone get eaten by lions! Violet tries to explain that perhaps Lulu doesn't deserve to be eaten by lions, at which point Esme delicately tells them that 'People don't always get what they deserve in this world.' She and Olaf are living proof of that little fact.

Esme offers to let the crew sleep on it and decide in the morning, but Hugo, Colette and Kevin are already completely on her side. They're given the task of convincing the three Baudelaires who are still resolutely refusing to feed anyone to the lions. Esme leaves them with a parting thought, if they don't join Olaf's band of merry men (and women), where else can they go?

Well, hopefully up the Mortmain Mountains to find out what's at the V.F.D. HQ, but we all know that getting away from the carnival isn't going to be as easy as that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think. :-)