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A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

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Every parent wants their children surrounded with the best of everything this world can offer and grow up to be well educated and instinctively knowing the basic moral rights and wrongs. But sometimes sheltering them with the goodness of this world can do them more harm than good. Daniel Handler seems to think that children are not terribly fragile and they can handle an unhappy ending. He did just that in his novel, The Bad Beginning, the first novel in The Series of Unfortunate Events. The writing style unmistakably sets a gloomy and dire world for his characters. It starts off with the three siblings Violet, Klaus and Sunny experiencing the great grief of their parents’ sudden death. The children, now orphans, have to go live with their distant relative, Count Olaf, who have no intention of treating them well. The readers soon learn that the children will battle more hardships by themselves. Since, Handler makes all the authoritative figures as incompetents and they are often blinded from Count Olaf’s schemes. Despite the uncomfortable stream of traumatic adversities the children faced, Daniel Handler’s The Bad Beginning challenges young readers to think objectively through the combination usage of narration styles and challenging moral messages.
Interestingly, A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning have Lemony Snicket on the cover as the author and when reading the book readers found that he is also the narrator. But the book was actually written by Daniel Handler and Lemony Snicket is more or less a character he invented. Consequentially, turning this novel into a complicated mixture of first person narrative and third person omniscient narrative. Johan Kullenbok wrote “The Shape Shifting Storyteller in Lemony Snick...

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...with tricking readers of the role the narrator plays, Handler also imposes the idea that the adults in the novel are not the same as the adults in the real world. He displays their characters as being useless and having no real power to protect Violet, Klaus and Sunny from Count Olaf. This will challenge the young readers’ natural expectations that the adults are there to help the siblings. Lastly, Handler presents the children, who are supposed to be the good guys, as having questionable moral codes to yet again make the readers abandon their pervious belief that a character can’t be both good and bad. The above example shows that Klaus stole from Justice Strauss to help his siblings escape the evil Count Olaf. Handler refrains from explicitly telling readers his opinions to let them think and decide for themselves whether the character’s action is right or wrong.
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