The Morals of the Story

...a word which here means, "The Series of Unfortunate Events", by Lemony Snicket

December 7, 2022

What follows is an index of my favorite quotes and passages, some of which are long enough to be considered essays, from "The Series of Unfortunate Events", by Lemony Snicket.

(more to come here...under construction)

"The Carnivorous Carnival", book the 9th

Chapter 1 - On the meaning and usage of the phrase "the belly of the beast".

Chapter 2 - On the meaning, value, enjoyment, and risks associated with "eavesdropping".

Chapter 3 - On the unpleasantness of job interviews; "Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear."

Chapter 4 - The Story of Queen Debbie and her boyfriend, Tony (the moral of which is: "Never look a gift lion in the mouth")

Chapter 5 - On experiencing "déjà vu" and the sneaky nature of grief.

Chapter 6 - "There are many difficult things in this world to hide, but a secret is not one of them. ( dear sister...)"; On the propensity of the Baudelaire orphans to find libraries wherever they go. "The sad truth is that the truth is sad...a series of unfortunate events can happen to anyone..."

Chapter 7 - "The world is a harum-scarum place."

Chapter 9 - On the irony of being told "to sleep on it"; on whether to stay put or go out and find a thing (i.e. when a child is separated from parents).

"The Slippery Slope", book the 10th

Chapter 1 - On "The Road Less Traveled"; on the kinds of sticky things one might use to slow the wheels of a careening caravan; Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant.

Chapter 3 - The story of Cinderella more or less describes the same horrible situation in which you currently find yourself; News Flash: People who are crying already have something to cry about and therefore don't need anything else to cry about, thank you very much;

Chapter 4 - The snow scout alphabet pledge; Night is simply a badly lit version of day.

Chapter 5 - "My dear sister, I am taking a great risk in hiding a letter to you in one of my books..."

Chapter 6 - "Is it safe to eat raw toast?"

Chapter 7 - Corridors of Power; The central theme of Anna Karenina

Chapter 8 - People often say things they know full well are ridiculous;

Chapter 10 - The word 'set' has the most definitions; "I'm not a baby"!

Chapter 11 - The symbolic meaning of light bulbs and eyes; The last quatrain of the eleventh stanza of 'The Garden of Prosperpine,' by Algernon Charles Swinburne;

Chapter 12 - The subtle difference between "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Mount Fraught Syndrome"

Chapter 13 - "I'm beginning to think that washing my face was a complete waste of time!"; On the crafting of an effective pledge; "A person can't be 'xylophone'!"

"The Grim Grotto", book the 11th

Chapter 1 - "The water cycle consists of three key phenomena..."

Chapter 2 - The merits of adopting a personal philosophy

Chapter 3 - On "shiver me Timbers", "for naught", etc.

Chapter 4 - When something "fits like a glove"

Chapter 5 - On the characteristics of an effective conversational opener; "uncharted waters".

Chapter 6 - On evaporation, the first of three key phenomena which make up the water cycle.

Chapter 7 - On words with multiple meanings, such as 'lousy'.

Chapter 8 - On precipitation, the second of the three key phenomena of the water cycle; some things are difficult to see, not because they are hidden, but because they are so disturbing.

Chapter 9 - Recommended prerequisites when considering a life of villainy.

Chapter 10 - On the effect of sadness.

Chapter 11 - On the wickedness of forcing one's dreadful characteristics on others, such as one's singing voice.

Chapter 13 - On collection, the last of the three key phenomena of the water cycle; on Captain Widdershins being mostly wrong, but somewhat right.

"The Penultimate Peril", book the 12th

Chapter 1 - On "La Forza del Destino".

Chapter 8 - On the meaning of the word "denouement"; on whether being "noble enough" is all we can ask for; on whether to forgive those who have not been nearly helpful enough; you were not born yesterday (unless of course I am wrong)

Chapter 11 - On the creation of laws and sausages.

Chapter 13 - On the famous unfathomable question posed by Richard Wright in his best-known novel, "Native Son".

"The End", book the 13th

Chapter 1 - The allegory of the onion, and the need for a moral compass.

Chapter 2 - An utterly useless description of a storm at sea.

Chapter 3 - Harmless homonyms: "The bears bear hard hard yarn yarns."

Chapter 5 - On responding to peer pressure without becoming dead, or otherwise uncomfortable.

Chapter 9 - What is "dark, in the dark, and in the park"?

Chapter 11 - On the questionable moral underpinnings of "The Little Engine That Could".

Chapter 12 - On root beer floats and (or should I say with) thumb tacks.

Chapter 13 - On beginnings, middles and endings ("in medias res"); on coming into and slipping out of this world, "in darkness, with our eyes closed" (without seeing what we are getting ourselves into); how a birth is always good news, regardless of all the bad news the baby will later hear.

-Michael Whatcott