WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The End by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Type: Adventure, Children’s
Basic Plot: The Baudelaires leave Hotel Denouement, and believe they have finally found people that believe them and a place to live. Unfortunately, even their new home is not as perfect as it is presented.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The end of the story was a combination of satisfying the readers and still leaving mystery. There is a vague idea of what has happened to most of the characters, but you never know what really happened to most of them. Even though most of the characters are not given a definite ending, the endings are enough. There is just enough to satisfy the need for justice and conclusion, but still enough open to leave the readers wondering what might have happened after the books.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style was as good as all of the other twelve books were. It wasn’t as dark and satirical in this book, but seemed more serious. It was still just as entertaining, though.
Moral: 1/5 A Negative Moral: The ultimate moral of the story is that it is better to face the world and live in it, even if it is wicked, than to close yourself off from it and try to shelter those you love from it, as wickedness will end up catching up with you anyway. This moral contains things that are true, but it is not completely accurate. It is true that no society or group of people is able to be kept pure. Since sin is in us as humans, if the attack does not come from the outside, it will come from the inside. Despite the fact that this is true, that does not mean we should throw ourselves and our loved ones into the world. God says several times in the Bible that we are supposed to be separate from the world. (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 6;14, 1 Peter 2:9) He also says that Christians are supposed to be simple concerning evil. (Romans 16:19)
It is hard to draw the line of how separate we should be from the world. Should we watch not TV or only good TV? Does it not matter what we watch at all because one day we are going to see something bad on TV anyway? This is a perfect example of the dilemma that the Baudelaires face. The island they land on could be those that say complete separation from everything that could even lead to the slightest wrong should be one hundred percent avoided, while the Baudelaires could be those that believe it does not matter what you watch as long as you don’t actually do those things, as one day you will see them. Neither is really correct, and if one was, it would be complete separation from even the chance to do wrong. The amount of separation the island calls for though is extreme, and to the point where no progress can be made.
In conclusion, the moral is right in that you can never keep something perfect forever, as humans are sinners and all societies will have the depraved and perverse, but it is ultimately wrong in saying that throwing yourself into the world is the answer. The answer is that we should separate ourselves from the world enough to be moral and be a good testimony for Jesus, but still in contact with the world to tell others about Jesus. We don’t have to be Amish to do this, but being Amish is better than being too far into the world. Unfortunately, the moral of the story is that it is better to be too far into the world than too repressed.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: This book concluded the series in a mysterious way, but still satisfyingly. The ultimate moral of the book series is revealed, and it is shown to contain both good and bad. I would recommend it to boys and girls twelve and older in quality.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slight Mention: One of the things mentioned to be in a huge collection of thing is underclothes. A man kisses a woman.
Violence: 1/5 Light and Threatened Violence: There are descriptions mentioning death and violence. A man threatens a child with violence at least twice in the book. He never goes through with it. It mentions that people get in a fight that results in attempted and anticipated violence as well as stepping on another person’s foot. A man shoots another man with a harpoon gun.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Lightly Intense and Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. It is mentioned that people died in previous books. It mentions the burning down of a hotel in the previous book. A man talks about wanting to hit other people’s cars. Some children wonder if they should push a man overboard, but don’t. It is also mentioned how he could have been killed. A figurehead of a boat has an octopus stuck to a man’s helmet, and it is described as “attacking.” It mentions a submarine and hot air balloon house were attacked, though it does not go into vivid detail. A violent storm occurs, washing some people onto an island. Some children wonder if a man died. He didn’t. Some people want to get weapons to start a mutiny. A woman lies to her daughter about her father dying from a storm or a manatee. A mutiny is partially started, but it does not last and no weapons are ever made. At least two people die, one from poison and the other from a harpoon gun injury. Several other people may or may not have died from poison, but it is never said. Children are worried that there friend is not doing well. It is mentioned that a woman’s feet were crushed. A collection contains skeletons of elephants and skulls. It mentions in a story that a girl lost her ear, that she believes she will be poisoned, a woman murdered someone, and that “children were accused” of murder, though they did not murder anyone. It mentions that children had wondered when they would die. A woman worries they will hurt her or her unborn child if she is moved. Blood is mentioned once, covering a man’s chest.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: There is a man that is called a rabbi throughout the book. There is brief mention of a menorah. Mohammed, the founder of Islam, is mentioned in a quote. A man believes that the natives of an island will worship him “as a god.” They don’t. “Herculean” (a word coming from a myth about Hercules) is used as a description.
Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: A man says he can tell what the weather is through magic. He can’t. “Magical” is used as a description. A man believes that clay will heal his feet. They don’t. Hypnosis is briefly mentioned.
Others: A man disguises himself as a pregnant woman and wears a dress. People drink coconut cordial, a fermented drink that works like a drug. It is described as an opiate. Halloween is briefly mentioned. A man believes the presence of cards will “lead to gambling.” A man tells a story that mentions that a woman was a drunkard.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: I recommend the book for ages twelve and older, the worst content being the death of some characters and some of the mentioned injuries and violence.