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Memento Mori ("remember you will die")
 
— The school motto

Prufrock Preparatory School, also known simply as Prufrock Prep, is a gloomy and awful boarding school that serves as the setting for The Austere Academy.

Prufrock exemplifies all the very real, horrible and negative aspects about school:

  • Pedantic, biased and strict teachers who play favorites
  • Bullying
  • Awful cafeteria food
  • Tons of stressful homework and exams
  • Boring lessons with material that most students will never actually use in real life (Klaus had to constantly measure objects. Violet had to memorize the insignificant and unimportant parts of Mr. Remora's boring self-stories such as how many miles a donkey ran)

The school also has poor treatment of students with unfortunate backgrounds (i.e. orphans), forcing them to live in a small uncomfortable shack known as the Orphans Shack.

The school is likely meant to symbolize a school that is preparing students to die, "killing" their free will and independent thought, and teaching them to become mindless obedient workers who respect and submit to authority.

Description

Here's a fun bit of trivia. The architect who built this school was severely depressed.
 
— Mr. Poe on the architecture
The outside entrance is made up of several buildings (32 in the TV series) that resemble tombstones and sits on a brown lawn. A stone archway at the school's entrance is inscribed with the motto "Memento Mori", which is Latin for "Remember You Will Die."

Nero's office is in the Administrative building, and the school holds at least two classrooms for the different studies. There is an auditorium where Nero's violin recitals are held, and nearby is a large sports field where pep rallies are held, and where the Baudelaires are forced to do S.O.R.E.

The cafeteria is known to serve such meals as a giant lasagna and pasta, with the cafeteria workers masked.[1]

The library is described as a pleasant place with comfortable chairs and huge wooden bookshelves. There are brass lamps shaped like different fish, and bright blue curtains to give it an ocean feeling.[2]

The dormitory is a gray building, entirely made of stone and shaped like a big toe. Inside is a huge living room with a brick fireplace, a game room, and a large lending library. Every student has his or her own room, with a bowl of fresh fruit placed there every Wednesday. However, in order to live in the dormitory, a student must have a permission slip with the signature of a parent or guardian. Since the Baudelaires' parents are dead, and their previous guardians are dead or fired them, they are forced to live in a tin shack.

In the Orphans Shack, bales of hay serve as beds, tiny crabs scurry around, the wallpaper is horrible, with hearts arranged in an unappealing pattern, and orange fungus oozes from the ceiling.[1]

TV Series Divergent Canon

It is stated that the designer of the school was severely depressed.[3]

When the Baudelaires arrive, the Quagmires were "upgraded" from the Orphans Shack to a broom closet instead of transferred to the dorms. The Orphans Shack was knocked down by Count Olaf during his escape.

The cafeteria food is shown to be dismal and disgusting, though it includes horseradish/apple hybrids.[4] Something rather disturbing is that a rabbit corpse can be found in the freezer, making one wonder if the school is secretly serving such things in their lunch meat.[5]

The library is not ocean-themed, but rather small and containing outdated books. Nero only allows it to be open for ten minutes per day.[4] Later, Coach Genghis orders it closed.[5]

History

Vice Principal Nero runs the school and forces the students to attend his six-hour violin recitals every night. The classes seem to be split between Mrs. Bass, the math teacher, and Mr. Remora, the language arts teacher, though Ms. Tench was also listed as a gym teacher.

After Tench's death, Nero hired Count Olaf in disguise as Coach Genghis, but he fled the school after being revealed by the Baudelaires.[1]

Mr. Remora (temporarily?) retired after choking on a banana, and Ms. K was hired as his replacement. After Mr. and Mrs. Spats complained about the books she was assigning to the students, she was fired and promptly kidnapped two orphans. Due to the lack of a Language Arts or Gym teacher, and Mrs. Bass constantly leaving to inspect the bank, Nero usually busied students by having them stare glumly at a camera.[2]

The school eventually closed down, sometime after Mrs. Bass was arrested for bank robbery.[1]

VFD Involvement

One could theorize that the school is probably a VFD-related place. The school notably trains students to be good memorizers and notetakers- two things necessary for volunteers- and the principal is never seen, possibly as they are a Volunteer.[1]

During Kit Snicket's temporary teaching position at the school, she also released VFD propaganda to the students in the form of books that would teach them codes and secret information, and abducted ("recruited") at least two children.

It is also revealed that the librarian is a VFD member who delivers messages to potential recruits as well as other volunteers; as Lemony Snicket was aware enough of this to go to the school for a message, this could imply that the school is known as a VFD-occupied space.[2]

Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, while doing research into Count Olaf, also came across enough evidence about VFD in the school archives that they had a general grasp on the organization.[1][6]

Classes

Bannedbooks

Kit's book list.

Mrs. Bass's metric system class involved the children measuring random objects and then being tested on their memorization skills.

Mr. Remora's language arts class involved him describing stories of his life and testing the students on the notes they took. After he retired, Ms. K taught VFD books until she was fired. The books she taught included:

Ms. Tench was the gym teacher until Coach Genghis took over, in which he ran an exercise program for the orphans.

Rules and Punishments

SchoolPunishment

Students being punished for tardiness.

The school enforces strict discipline and punishments:

  • If anyone is late for class, their hands are tied behind their back during meals. The student must lean down and eat their food like a dog.
  • If a student is late to the cafeteria, their cups and glasses are taken away and the beverage is served in large puddles.
  • If a student goes to the administrative building without an appointment, they are forced to eat their meals without silverware.
  • If a student misses one of Nero's 6-hour violin recitals, they are forced to buy him a large bag of candy and watch him eat it.

TV Series

Gym teacher evaluations are worth 51% of a student's grade, meaning if a student isn't very good at doing physical activities and sports, their overall grades can dramatically worsen to the point they may be expelled, which occurred to Count Olaf. For example, if a student is a regular straight-A student in all classes, but has a D in gym, their overall grade can sink to a C.

TV Series Divergent Canon

FullSchool

The school.

In the TV series, the school is depicted as being located in the middle of nowhere, possibly in the Hinterlands. A fence around the perimeter makes the school reminiscent of a prison. It is mentioned that that the school suffers from budget cuts, which is why Vice Principal Nero can not afford an administrative assistant without resorting to child labor, and why the library is out-of-date. Their mascot is a dead horse as a result of the expression, "You can't beat a dead horse."

The episode "The End" revealed that Ishmael used to be the principal of Prufrock Preparatory. When he noticed children with a "gleam" in their eye, he would recruit them into V.F.D in order to stand up against the ignorance and injustice in the world, making it a quieter, safer place. (This contradicts book canon, which describes VFD as being several generations old.)

Staff

TV Series

Students

Stareglumly

Prufrock students staring glumly at the camera.

TV Series

formerly:

Trivia

Appearances 



Gallery

Books

TV Series

Brochures

Sources

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