Hi Sleuth! First off, well done for all the great work. I'm presently embarking on my own Snicketverse examination and your blog is invaluable for that much-needed alternate POV and fact checking. My approach is more about thematic and artistic choices rather than fact study, so I tend not to cross your answered territory and also miss the stuff you're laying out. Sincere thanks!
Thank you for these kind words, @lyeekha! Most of this blog’s content concerns the plot but I have to dabble in stylistics and literary theory from time to time. Daniel Handler is the type of writer who makes a jury wear blindfolds just to make a visual pun about the “justice is blind” aphorism. This is what separated “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” from a lot of other Young Adult series, actually. The narration wasn’t just a device to advance the story or convey an atmosphere: style actually influenced the plot as much as the vice-versa, and the two very often intersected. This is one of the reasons the series had such a distinctive, easily imitable voice.
I copied the second part of your contribution below. It’s a reference to an earlier Q&A about Ellington’s favorite song (Link):
Secondly, I’ve pretty much convinced myself that the track Ellington is always listening to is Take The A Train, probably the version without vocal. It seems to me like it fits the description of the music better, fits the atmosphere of the scenes in which it’s played better and is more ‘signature’ than Black Brown And Beige (therefore more likely to be in a music box and also more instantly recognisable from a whistle). Also, the importance of trains. Any thoughts?
Hmm. Interesting. I’m kind of on the fence about this. I would say it’s simpler to think that the song is “Brown, Black and Beige” because Ellington directly reacts to the title of the associated book. But I suppose she could have reacted to the book because she’s a huge Duke Ellington fan, not specifically because it’s her favorite song.
Of course we also have to consider that other songs mentioned in the series (such as “Caravan” and “Parfait (a little max)”) could also be Ellington’s faovrite song. But it’s assuredly a Duke Ellington song she listening to, no doubt about it.
I actually consider “To Take the A train” a more upbeat song than “Black, Brown Beige”. Then again, “Black, Brown and Beige” is a significantly longer piece: it has sadder and happier moments. It’s difficult to pick which exact part of the song Daniel Handler would be referencing here.