Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Chapter-by-Chapter: The Hostile Hospital, Chapter 8

This chapter is quite a long one. I'm not surprised by this, this book is much thicker than the other ones so far but thus far the chapters haven't been too long. I think they'll be getting longer from this point onwards.

With that in mind, here goes Chapter 8.

What Happens?

Thoughts as I read:

This picture shows Sunny and Klaus just hanging out with a couple of the smiley face balloons from the Volunteers Fighting Disease. This is apparently going to be how they manage to keep anyone from recognising them around the hospital while they try to reunite with their sister. While I realise this is entirely not the point of the picture, I can't help but notice how well kept the children are. Considering they're living in an abandoned wing of the unfinished hospital, you'd expect them to look a little more dishevelled - I'm not sure when they last would've had a wash!

The chapter opens by telling us that Heimlich Hospital is no more. Not only that, it's nearly impossible to get to the site where it was once located. The word 'wreckage' is used. Luckily, Snicket's done it for us so we don't have to.

While Sunny and Klaus are huddled together they hear Matthias/Olaf make an announcement to let everyone know they've found what they wanted, so there won't be any more inspections. There's something about this that he finds very funny, so I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that he's got Violet in his clutches now. Matthias/Olaf goes on to remind everyone to be on the lookout as 'Klyde' and 'Susie' are still at large.

Klaus realises what this message means and discusses this with Sunny. Sunny says 'Danger' which needs no translation. Klaus points out they'll have to find their sister, to which Sunny replies 'Virm' meaning 'But we don't know where she is.' They decide that Violet must still be in the hospital because they're still holding out for Klaus and Sunny, Sunny says 'Rance' which means something to do with the file.

When Klaus is all set to charge in and search for Violet Sunny keeps a level head, pointing out 'Lindersto' which means 'That'll be tough. We'll have to wander around the hospital looking for her, while other people will be wandering around the hospital, looking for us.' I love how much information Sunny can pack into three syllables. She then goes on to suggest 'Disguise?'

They're really missing Violet now. Klaus is a reader, not an inventor. All he can come up with is the idea of disguising themselves with the construction materials in their temporary home. 'Gidoost' says Sunny, meaning 'But piles of construction materials don't wander around hospitals.' And so they have no choice but to go in disguise-less.

Luckily they've not got very far when they run into a group of Volunteers Fighting Disease, singing their happy song. As the V.F.D. lot don't read the papers this is one of the safest places to hide so Klaus and Sunny are able to join the group relatively unnoticed. In fact the only person who spots them soon hands them a couple of balloons, thus creating the disguises we saw at the beginning of the chapter. Convenient.

It's revealed at this point that the volunteers aren't much good at doing anything other than singing and handing out balloons, therefore strengthening my theory that people get better purely to get away from them. Case in point: a ward containing two people, one with both legs in plaster and the other with both arms in plaster. The volunteers give them both a balloon but are unable to get a nurse to bring them painkillers or a drink of water. They've got places to go and people to give balloons to, so they can't waste time with drugs and refreshments!

Then they head off to see Bernard Rieux who is in the Plague Ward. Not sure I'd want to visit anyone there!

Once again luck is with Klaus and Sunny because by hanging around with the Volunteers Fighting Disease they've got a ticket to every room in the hospital. Klaus reasons that this will enable them to search for Violet. Sunny says 'Mushulm' to this, meaning 'I agree, although it won't be pleasant to see all these sick people'.

What follows is a run down of several of the people the children visit, none of whom the children are able to help for fear of being discovered by someone who has read The Daily Punctilio. After Bernard Rieux is Cynthia Vane (who has toothache), then Jonah Mapple (seasickness, wonder if it had anything to do with a whale?), Charley Anderson and, possibly my favourite:

... Clarissa Dalloway, who did not seem to have anything wrong with her but was staring sadly out the window of Room 1308...

Sometimes I think these books are wasted on children.

Eventually Sunny says 'Ceyune' which means ' We've been wandering around the hospital all morning, and we're no closer to rescuing our sister'. It's looking hopeless, until an announcement from Matthias/Olaf makes things even more hopeless. He announces that shortly the hospital will play host to 'the world's first cranioectomy on a fourteen-year-old girl'. This is not looking good for Violet.

Klaus isn't sure exactly what a cranioectomy is, but he knows enough to figure out that it doesn't sound like Violet will enjoy the experience. Sunny says 'Decap?' meaning 'Do you think they're going to cut off Violet's head?' As this seems to be a very real possibility Klaus decides that they can't carry on just randomly visiting patients, especially as Emma Bovary (with food poisoning) is unlikely to be the person they are looking for. Instead he manages to get the list of patients from one of the volunteers, he can't seriously think they would just print Violet's name on the list for anyone to see, also apparently nobody in this series has ever heard of Data Protection!

They need to find somewhere to peruse the list without having to hide behind balloons so Sunny suggests 'Let's hide in that supply closet over there' which comes out as 'Damajat'. The cupboard is small and cramped and contains medical coats, a sink, tins of alphabet soup and boxes of rubber bands. Normally I'd gloss over things like this, but in this series I've learned that everything might crop up again in the future, so I like to be prepared.

Klaus is confident that no one will find them in the cupboard, giving them time to look through the list, though Sunny does point out 'Pesh' which means 'At least, until somebody needs rubber bands, alphabet soup, white medical coats, or clean hands.' Thus far their luck has held out surprisingly well, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they ended up getting caught soon!

The list is organised by ward, rather than alphabetically, and the ward names are more straightforward than many hospitals. We've got 'Sore Throat Ward' and 'Broken Neck Ward' as well as 'Ward for People with Nasty Rashes' and 'Pneumonia Ward'. It appears there is no 'About to Have Their Head Cut Off Ward'. Sunny then throws a spanner in the works by suggesting 'Alias' meaning 'Maybe she's listed under a different name'. We get a couple of names from the list at this point (Mikhail Bulgakov and Haruki Murakami) but this theory means that any one of them could be Violet.

Then there's an interruption in the form of an announcement calling Dr. Flacutono to the Surgical Ward. Now where've we heard that name before?

Klaus remembers, which is just as well, because although I recognised it, I couldn't remember when we'd heard it. It goes back to Paltryville apparently. 'Tiofreck!' says Sunny, meaning 'Violet's in grave danger - we have to find her immediately'. But Klaus is miles away.

He's come to a realisation, but right now he's not sharing with Sunny. Instead he's saying things like 'Flac-u-to-no' and 'Al Funcoot' and 'Ana Gram'. Then he announces that he knows how to find Violet, but in order to figure it out he needs Sunny to use her super sharp teeth to crack open a tin of alphabet soup.

And I feel kind of bad, because I gave away the whole anagram thing way back when we were reading the first book. Sorry about that.

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