Friday, 9 January 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Carnivorous Carnival, Chapter 5

I ran out of time to get all the chapters read and written that I needed to to in the run up to going away. Rather than having my posts dry up completely I've just scheduled these to post on this Friday and next, before returning to normal afternoon (with a double-dose on Fridays) on the 19th of January.

It's not run reading these books if I'm just doing it to churn out blog posts, this way is a lot more fun for me so hopefully it'll be more fun to read.

What Happens?

Olaf bought Lulu the lions to feed the residents of the House of Freaks to; each day there will be another person fed to the lions. The crowd loves the idea; the employees less so. The children realise that they are running out of time and so they have to get inside Madame Lulu’s tent to find out how she is finding out where the Baudelaires. When the Baudelaires get to the tent they see the big eye outside it again and suddenly realise that hidden in the design are some very familiar letters.

Thoughts as I read:

As usual we’ve got our little picture to kick start the chapter. This time it appears to be of Madame Lulu’s tent. It’s a very nice looking tent with stars and a moon on it. Oh, and there’s on of Olaf’s creepy eyes right across the door as well. It’s done in such a way that I didn’t notice it right away, then I glanced back at the page and it was just staring at me.

This chapter has a wonderful opening. You get to the first page of Chapter Five and it tells you all about the meaning of deja vu. Then you turn the page and it’s the start of Chapter Five again. How clever is that?! I love the little ways that this book series goes against the norm and messes with your head.

The reason for this is because this is the exact same sensation that the Baudelaires are experiencing as they stand outside listening to Olaf explain that the lions are going to take the place of the tagliatelle whip. Basically the lions are going to be fed employees from the House of Freaks, after all they’re experiencing such miserable lives they won’t mind being fed to a lion once a day.

I’m inclined to think that Olaf and the crew are onto the Baudelaires and that this is their way to get them out of the way and thus claim the fortune. Even someone as insane as Olaf can’t possibly think that killing one’s employees (if you can call them that, considering they don’t actually get paid) is the best way to ensure the business survives, after all in a week the House of Freaks would be no more!

The crowd likes the sound of this turn of events; the Baudelaires, Hugo, Colette and Kevin, not so much. The crowd are all about the violence and the sloppy eating so this combination sounds like a fantastic hit. Luckily for the Baudelaires, this isn’t due to start until tomorrow, but it looks set to be a big hit.

There’s a slight fly in the ointment when Esme discovers that Olaf has given Lulu the lions as a gift, after all, he’s never given her a gift of lions. In fact, he’s not got anything for Esme, because she didn’t do ‘wonderful fortune-telling’. This starts to sound even more like a euphemism than going ‘inside her tent’! It may also give us a clue as to how Madame Lulu is finding out where the Baudelaires are, my money is some sort of GPS system in Violet’s ribbon and Klaus’s glasses. Her technique includes ‘magical lightning’ and a ‘magical hum’. Sounds like electricity to me. Whatever it was, it told Lulu that one of the Baudelaire parents is still alive.

Hugo is concerned that there doesn’t seem to be a better way of making the carnival more popular without killing people. But as Hugo’s job is to give the people what they want, and what they want is man-eating lions, Hugo’s got no comeback and is dismissed while Olaf’s crew set to digging the man-eating lion pit.

Olaf and Esme are off to have a ‘discussion’. I suspect this will be about Olaf’s relationship with Lulu and Esme’s lack of gifts…

Away from Hugo, Colette and Kevin, Violet congratulates Sunny on the addition of cinnamon to the hot chocolate but laments the fact that imminent consumption by lions kind of makes it hard to enjoy. Sunny replies ‘Ificat’ which means ‘Me too’. The whole thing about lightning in the tend has got Violet’s spidey-sense tingling, well inventy-sense, so she wants to go check it out. Sunny concurs with ‘Chow!’ meaning ‘Before we’re thrown to the lions!’

Violet’s got so many questions and as she runs through them all she gets a little choked up. Poor Violet. I feel sorry for all three kids, but I think Violet is going to need some serious counselling when all this is over. Then it’s Klaus’s turn to break down and soon he’s actually crying. They draw comfort from one another and pull themselves back together. ‘Chithvee’ says Sunny, ‘But I can’t help thinking about our parents’ as they all apologise to each other.

They then move on to wondering why their parents having found them yet before realising that the three of them have been moving around so much that if would be impossible to track them down (unless you’re Olaf) and also that Mr Poe is hopeless so would be no use whatsoever if the Baudelaire parent had asked him for help.

As usual it’s Sunny who directs them all back to the task at hand, ‘Galfuskin’ which means ‘This is all guesswork – let’s go to the fortune-telling tent and see if we can find anything for sure, and we’d better do it soon before the others get back.’ I love how much information Sunny can pack into just three syllables!

While all the other carnival employees are distracted by pondering their fate or closing up for the day, the children nip inside the fortune-telling tent. We’re reminded again of the eye which we saw at the beginning of the chapter but the children have just realised that the eye appears to be more like an insignia:

Sometimes an insignia can be a simple shape, such as a wavy line to indicate an organization concerned with rivers or oceans, or a square to indicate an organization concerned with geometry or sugar cubes. Sometimes an insignia can be a small picture of something, such as a torch, to indicate an organization is flammable, or the three-eyed girl outside the House of Freaks, indicating that people who were unusual in some way were on display inside. And sometimes an insignia can be part of the name of the organization, such as the first few letters, or its initials.

Can you see where this is going?

The children all study the eye as realisation dawns and they try to figure out what they’re seeing. Sunny says ‘Volu…’ just in case the reader is a little bit slow on the uptake. Because, yes, the eye spells out V.F.D.

And I just scooted back to the picture at the start of the chapter and checked. Yup, it’s hard to see because of the folds in the tent material, but you can just about make it out there as well.


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