Book 13: The End by Lemony Snicket | Teen Ink

Book 13: The End by Lemony Snicket

January 19, 2008
By Ginny Moon (c/o Cox) BRONZE, La Quinta, California
Ginny Moon (c/o Cox) BRONZE, La Quinta, California
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Where do you go to find safety from the evils of the world after the 'last safe place' has been burned to the ground? This is the main theme (a phrase which here means 'overall purpose or idea') of this woeful story. Lemony Snicket's The End (and the last book in the Series of Unfortunate Events) left me wondering how many times Mr. Snicket was telling the truth, and I thought he was stretching the details. The plot kept me fending off sleep, praying for one more chapter, yet at the same time trying to avoid the next sorrow-filled word, hoping everything would end happily.

The characters who come together to try to find a resolution are an important part of The End. First are the Baudelaire siblings, three troubled orphans who have been pursued everywhere they go by a series of extremely unfortunate events. Violet, the oldest, is an inventor, and creates machines and gadgets to help her siblings in their predicaments (A word which here means troubling situations, from being trapped in a birdcage to drinking impure water). Klaus, the middle sibling, is a researcher, and uses his vast knowledge to figure out clues and solve mysteries. Sunny, the youngest, just out of babyhood, has four exceptionally sharp teeth, and an ability to cook even with very little supplies. The other characters, which include Count Olaf (A notorious villain), Friday (A peer pressured young girl), Ishmael (an un-forcing facilitator), and Ink (an incredibly deadly viper) are just more of the heart-breaking cast in The End.

While the cast of The End is filled with woe, the story they're involved with is terribly woeful too. The Baudelaire siblings find themselves in the same boat (both literally and figuratively) as Count Olaf, the one who got them into this mess in the first place, and contemplate adding more villainy to their lives. After a wretched storm that lands them on a huge coastal shelf, the Baudelaire's and Count Olaf meet a girl named Friday, who banishes Count Olaf from the nearby island for being unkind. The Baudelaire's are appalled (a word which here means 'incredibly surprised that a girl so young would dare banish Count Olaf'), for this is the first time someone besides the Baudelaire's have done anything against Count Olaf. They were forced to wonder, have they finally found a real safe place, or just stumbled across another dreadful decoy?

Lastly, The End gives strong themes to it's subsequently saddened readers. While we follow the melancholy characters, we learn that while the world is full of evil, there is good in it, too - it just depends on how you look at it. And we have to go out and find the good in the world, or else the evil might prevail.

Consequently, The End is a wonderful novel, and a must read for all of the pitiable people who've started the beginning of this unpleasant series. It wraps up a few of our plethora of questions, and ends with a satisfyingly reduced hunger (A phrase which here means 'leaves us with wanting for a better end, but the knowledge that no such end exists'). If you have never had the misfortune of beginning this distressing series, I would advise not to begin now, unless you particularly like repulsive villains, deadly serpents, cold cucumber soup, hypnotists, strict punishments, liars with evil schemes, angry mobs, unnecessary surgery, confusing maps, swarms of snow gnats, tap dancing, harpoon guns, or enormous bird cages. If that is the case, then go right ahead, and take these dreadful books off your booksellers hands. For those who have had the misfortune of reading all the way to the penultimate book, I have one piece of advice: If you were expecting a happy ending, you shouldn't have started the first book.

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