Sugar bowl (A Series of Unfortunate Events)


Sugar bowl (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

ASUE object


bgcolor=pink
fgcolor=white
name=The Sugar Bowl
mention="The Hostile Hospital" (indirectly mentioned in "The Ersatz Elevator")
possess=unknown (though Lemony Snicket implied)The Sugar Bowl (or the Vessel For Disaccharides) is a mysterious plot device from "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

It was first mentioned by name in "The Hostile Hospital" in which Lemony Snicket ponders whether it was necessary to have stolen it from Esmé Squalor. It is indirectly mentioned in "The Ersatz Elevator" by Esmé. In "", it becomes apparent that it contains an object of great power or danger. There are many mentions of the sugar bowl and both sides of V.F.D. seem to be pursuing it; the Baudelaire orphans are eventually caught up in the search, although they have no idea why the bowl is so important.

History

Lemony Snicket's narration has been pivotal in exploring the sugar bowl's relevance to the overall plot. Where the sugar bowl came from and when an item of importance was hidden in it is unclear; however, it is generally agreed that the earliest point in its significant history is referred to in "The Penultimate Peril" and "The Hostile Hospital". In the former, Esmé Squalor claims that Beatrice stole the sugar bowl from her, but in the letter, Lemony Snicket claims that he stole the sugar bowl from Esmé. Clues in these books indicate that Beatrice was at a tea party held by Esmé when the sugar bowl was taken from her, and Esmé may have then mistakenly deduced that Beatrice was the thief. It is also possible that Beatrice and Lemony workd together to steal the bowl. This may be the crime that Lemony Snicket and Beatrice commited together before her death, as mentioned in "13 Shocking Secrets You'll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket".

In "The Slippery Slope", Lemony Snicket mentions in a letter to his sister that her "suggestion...that a tea set would be a handy place to hide anything important and small...has turned out to be correct." A sugar bowl is one of the parts of a tea set. Later in the book, Violet Baudelaire notes that a tea set used by Count Olaf and Esmé Squalor is missing an item, implied to be a sugar bowl.

It is also mentioned in "The Dismal Dinner" that a sugar bowl was passed around at the Baudelaire parents' fourth-to-last dinner party, but it is unclear whether this is the same sugar bowl that was stolen from Esmé.

At some point, the sugar bowl was taken to the V.F.D. headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains. At a point prior to "The Slippery Slope", the man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard burnt down the headquarters but were unable to recover the sugar bowl; Lemony Snicket states in the narration that a brave volunteer threw the bowl out the window into the Stricken Stream, knowing it would be swept away and be saved from the villains.

In "The Grim Grotto", Klaus Baudelaire and Captain Widdershins believed it to have washed into the Gorgonian Grotto, but when the grotto was explored, the bowl was not there; the narration implies that the bowl had been removed quite some time before. It is here that the Baudelaires are told that the sugar bowl itself is not important; it's the contents of the bowl that matter.

In "The Penultimate Peril", the sugar bowl was brought to the Hotel Denouement by V.F.D. crows. The plan, on the villains' part, was to capture it by harpooning the crows, but due to the quick actions of Dewey Denouement, a plan was put in place to prevent the villains from securing it. The volunteers and villains originally thought it had fallen into the laundry room, but the Baudelaires later conclude that the sugar bowl had fallen into the pond. However, in a twist, Snicket implies that the bowl was retrieved from the pond and carried away by taxi shortly before the destruction of the hotel, and that this taxi driver was possibly himself.

In "The End", there is a possible mention of the sugar bowl. When reading an extract from "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (the history of the island at which the Baudelaires arrive), Klaus reads, "Beatrice is hidding a small amount [of horseradish (or other substance capable of diluting the medusoid mycelium)] in a vess-". It could be assumed that the sentence would continue as "a vessel for disaccharides." Whether this is a reference to the same sugar bowl that was stolen from Esme Squalor, or simply that sugar bowls became common in V.F.D. as they proved useful for storage of sensitive items, is not known.

""'s index entry for the sugar bowl redirects the reader to the entries for 'hiding places' and Lena Pukalie's book I Lost Something at the Movies, a reference to real-life film critic Pauline Kael's I Lost It at the Movies; the link between the latter and the sugar bowl is not explained.

Contents

At the conclusion of the final book in the series, "The End", it is possible that inside the sugar bowl is the antidote for the Medusoid Mycelium: horseradish. It states this near the end of A Series of Unfortunate Events as the Medusoid Mycelium infects the Baudelaires.

"The Slippery Slope" indicates that the sugar bowl contains something that proves Lemony Snicket innocent of arsons committed by Count Olaf; "The Penultimate Peril" implies that Lemony Snicket has gained possession of the bowl. If this is the case, Snicket may have gone on to use the sugar bowl to clear his name; "The Beatrice Letters" reinforces this, as by the time its later segments take place, Snicket is apparently able to publicly rent an office and have mail delivered there, something he would be unable to do as a wanted fugitive.

Esmé Squalor, when confronting the Baudelaires, Dewey Denouement and their associates in "The Penultimate Peril", emphasized the difficulty of finding a container that could hold the sugar bowl's contents safely, securely, and attractively, and stated many lives were lost in the quest to find it; she also states that it means very much to the Baudelaires and the Snickets. However, it is unclear where she is referring to the sugar bowl and where to its contents. There is also another possible use for the sugar bowl: it could contain the figurine mentioned in "The Carnivorous Carnival", since it was said to contain "vital evidence" and was relatively small. If this theory is true, then the figurine was probably placed inside the sugar bowl as it winded down the Stricken Stream and possibly taken away, which would be the reason that the Baudelaires didn't find it in the Gorgorian Grotto.


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