Topics for Discussion
1. Which is your favorite book and why?
2. Who do you think is Lemony Snicket, and how is he related to the Baudelaires' lives? What are your impressions of this narrator? Is he trustworthy?
3. The Baudelaire orphans become good friends with the Quagmire orphans in The Austere Academy. Why? What do they have in common?
4. Compare and contrast the characters of the Baudelaire orphans, Sunny, Klaus, and Violet. Do they seem believable to you? Why or why not?
5. Adults continue to let down the Baudelaires. Choose three or four adult characters (like Aunt Josephine and Mr. Poe) and tell how they disappoint the orphans.
6. The narrator likes to explain the meanings of words in these stories. Make a list of eight to ten words that were new, or unusual, to you in the stories, and give their dictionary definitions.
7. Setting is very important in these stories. Describe the setting of one of the books. How would the story be different if the setting had been different? How does the setting contribute to the events in the orphans' lives?
8. There is a good deal of irony in these books. Define irony, and give two or three examples from the books.
9. A reader can find a number of literary allusions in these books. What is an allusion? Give three or four examples of literary allusions from "A Series of Unfortunate Events."
10. Names are important in "A Series of Unfortunate Events," like the address of their new guardians on 667 Dark Avenue; the apartment is indeed dark. Discuss the implications of the following names: the Squalors, the Quagmires, Lake Lachrymose, Curdled Cave, Captain Sham, Paltryville, and Last Chance General Store, and Heimlich Hospital.
11. There is a good deal of satire in the series, also. Define satire, and give two or three examples from the stories. Where else might you run into satire besides in a book? Give an example.
12. Count Olaf is really, really bad. Do you find him and his henchman frightening, too? Why or why not?
13. The descriptions in the books are often vivid and imaginative. Give two or three examples of descriptions that strike you, and tell why.
14. Predict how the series will end, and explain why your ending would be an appropriate one.