Monday, December 10, 2007

Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" creates an interesting puzzle of relationships. The perilous hope is that decoding the people and events alluded to in the series can bring one to a point of enlightenment. Why is it that these good children resort to all sorts of immoral and devious devices?

The books are full of puzzles so we hope they are full of clues. There are anagrams, Siebalt codes, codes linked to classic books, mysterious pieces of evidence, and a host of literary allusions. Could it be that hidden in these codes is the information that gives us satisfaction for this series of unfortunate events?

The answer is likely, "no." Daniel Handler has said as much. He wrote this book to illustrate his view of life. The aweful reality is that bad things happen to good people. Good people are not as good as they seem and evil people are not as evil as they seem. Things do not work out in a just way. Life is full of twists and turns. Good often goes unrewarded, perhaps even punished. Evil goes largely unpunished and just as often may be rewarded.