Literary Allusions in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Thirteenth, The End

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

What's in a Name?

by Chris Frantz
A Series of Unfortunate Events: 13 Shocking Secrets

Related Links

Some of the names used by Lemony Snicket might seem really peculiar if you did not know their origins. Since The End takes place on an island, most of the character names come from literary and real-life castaways, mutineers, and sea-faring folk.

Friday and Robinson
In Daniel Defoe's novel of the same name, Robinson Crusoe helps the escaped prisoner Friday and he becomes Crusoe's companion.

Ishmael is the narrator of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick. Ishmael is also the first son of Abraham in the Old Testament. He and his mother Hagar were turned out of Abraham's house and the name has become associated with orphans and outcasts.

Might be a reference to General William Tecumseh Sherman, famous for his March to the Sea during the American Civil War. Sherman had the distinction of being in two shipwrecks on the same day (April 9, 1853).

Erewhon is the name of Samuel Butler's 1872 novel. Erewhon is the word "nowhere" spelled backwards with the H and W switched and the name of the fictional country the hero discovers. Butler probably based his Erewhon on the South Island of New Zealand.

Weyden and Larsen
Humphrey Van Weyden is a castaway rescued by the brutal captain Wolf Larsen in Jack London's novel, The Sea Wolf.

It's the Greek form of the name Homer and a poem by Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott. The poem takes place on the island of St. Lucia using characters and images from Homer's The Odyssey and The Iliad.

Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn sailed down the Mississippi on a raft. There is a famous shipwreck scene in the book.

Calypso is a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It is also the name of oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau's research ship.

Ms. Marlow and Dr. Kurtz
Marlow and Kurtz are characters in Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness. Marlow is the captain of a riverboat steamer on the Congo River.

Jonah and Sadie Bellamy
This might refer to "Black Sam" Bellamy, a pirate whose ship, Whydah Gally, sank off Cape Cod.

Characters with names from Mutiny on the Bounty

Madame Nordoff
Charles Nordhoff (with the H) and James Hall wrote the novel Mutiny on the Bounty.

Mr. Pitcairn
Pitcairn Island is where the mutineers of the HMS Bounty ended up. Descendents of the sailors live there to this day.

Roger Byam is the narrator and a fictional character in the novel, based on real crewman Peter Heywood.

Rabbi Bligh
Capt. William Bligh was the captain of HMS Bounty.

Professor Fletcher
Fletcher Christian was the leader of the mutineers. In the movies, he has been portrayed by Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, and Mel Gibson.

Characters with names from Shakespeare's The Tempest

Alonso is the King of Naples.

Ariel is a sprite who serves Prospero.

Ferdinand is the son of Alonso who falls in love with Prospero's daughter Miranda.

Mrs. Miranda Caliban
Miranda is the daughter of Prospero. Caliban is the deformed slave of Prospero.

More from the disastrous Series of Unfortunate Events

Sources +