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And Then There Were None

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Maria Tews

on 17 April 2014

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Transcript of And Then There Were None

Summary
Setting
Main Characters
And Then There Were None
By: Agatha Christie

Fiction
Even though
And Then There Were None
is a piece of fiction, Agatha Christie has tried to make it as realistic as possible. While rather bizarre, all the murders have a clear and perfectly reasonable explanation, and nothing supernatural is involved. I would even go as far as saying that
And Then There Were None
is realistic fiction, and can happen in real life (though unlikely).
Agatha Christie was born on September 5,1890, in Torquay, England. She wrote 66 detective stories (featuring famous characters such as Miss Jane Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Tommy and Tuppence), and 14 short stories. Agatha Christie is one of the best-selling writers in the world. Christie died on January 12, 1976.
Foreshadowing
Foreshadowing considerably adds to the suspence, and makes the novel much more dramatic. Here are some examples of foreshadowing in the text:
"'I'm talking to
you
, young man. The day of judgement is very close at hand.'" (Old man to Mr. Blore)
"'
We're not going to leave the island
... None of us will ever leave... It's the end, you see-the end of everything....'" (General Macarthur to Philip Lombard and Mr. Blore)
"She didn't like that hook on the ceiling. It drew your eyes, fascinated you ... a big black hook..." (Vera Claythorne's thoughts)
Place
The novel takes place on Soldier Island, a fictional island 1 mile off the coast of Devon, England. During storms and bad weather, it is impossible to get on or off the island. Soilder Island had been bought and renovated by an American millionare who thought that the venue would be ideal for yachting, and later had been sold to someone else,
The novel takes place in the 1930's, and therefore the technology, vocabulary, professions, and conflict reflect the 20th century. Here are some examples:
Vera Claythorne puts on a
bathing dress.
The protagonists stuck on the island cannot phone for help.
Mr. Rogers is a butler. While butlers still exist today, they are a rarity. In the early 20th century butlers were common.

Time
Maria Tews
Anthony James Marston
Anthony Marston is young, handsome, rich, athletic, and a reckless driver. One year before being invited to Soilder Island, on November 14th, Anthony ran over and killed two young children (John and Lucy Combes) near Cambridge. He exhibits no remorse, and claims that running over the kids was "beastly bad luck" because he got his driving license suspended for a year. It is ironic because seconds before his death he states that his current situation is "positively thrilling" and drinks "to crime".
General John Gordon Macarthur
General John Gordon Macarthur is the oldest guest on Soldier Island. He is accused of sending his wife's lover, Arthur Richmond, on a suicide mission during World War 1 on January 4th, 1917. Though at the beginning of the book he denies the accusation, after the first few deaths on Soldier Island he comes to terms with his past and loses his sanity. He sits on the beach, patiently awaiting death.
Emily Caroline Brent
Emiliy Caroline Brent is an elderly spinster, and a religious fanatic. She fired her maid,Beatrice Taylor, because the latter was carrying an illegitimate child. Beatrice, after being rejected by both her parents and her employer, drowned herself in a river on November 5th, 1931. Emily Brent shows no remorse, and is convinced she did nothing wrong. However, she thinks about Beatrice subconsciosly, and Beatrice Taylor is the last thing she thinks about before she dies.
Vera Claythorne
Vera Claythorne is a games teacher at a girls' school. Vera is cool, resourceful, and intelligent. She is accused of drowning Cyril Ogilvie Hamilton on August 11, 1935. She was Cyril's governess, and knowing fully well that Cyril couldn't swim very well, let him swim out into the sea so he would drown, and his uncle (her lover) would inherit Cyril's money. She feels the most guilt out of anyone on the island for her crime, she suffers from bouts of hysteria, and is very much affected by the happenings on Soldier Island.
Phillip Lombard
Phillip Lombard is cunning, mysterious, careful, and confident. These traits help him survive longer than his fellow guests. He brings a firearm to the island. He was a mercenary soilder in Africa, and in February 1932, abandoned 21 members of an East African tribe. All 21 men died. He seems like a panther-with a wolf-like grin.
William Blore
William Blore used to be a police man, and is accused of falsely accusing an innocent man (James Stephen Landor) as the head of a criminal gang. Landor died in prison on October 10th, 1928. Blore continously suspects the wrong person as being the murderer. He is a trustworthy person, and the other guests on the island ask him for advise.
Dr. Edward George Armstrong
Dr. Edward George Armstrong has a succesful practice in London, England. Many years ago, on March,14, 1925, he operated on Louisa Mary Clees drunk and killed her. Because Dr. Armstrong is often the one taking care of the injured guests before their eventual deaths, the other guests are suspicious of him. He is a gullible man, and often judges people by their career positions or by their professional successes. This leads to his eventual death.
Justice Lawrence John Wargrave
Justice Lawrence Wargrave has recently retired from his post. He is an old, intelligent man who has leadership skills. He is a "hanging" judge, and is accused of sentencing an innocent man (Edward Seton) to his death on June 10th, 1930. He has a sadistic delight in murdering, but also a strong sence of justice that prevents him from harming anyone innocent.
There are 10 main characters in
And Then There Were None
. All ten have been invited to Soilder Island by a vague letter or proposition customized to them personally. This letter/proposition either mentions old acquainteces of theirs with whom they've lost touch, or offers a job position. All ten characters have been lured to Soilder Island because they have commited a murder in their pasts in a manner that makes them untouchable to the law. Later, the reader learns that 1 out of the guests on Soilder Island must be the murderer. We see Agatha Christie's talent as an author because she is able to portray Vera Bradley as a sympathetic character, despite the fact that she commited a despicable crime. There are no protagonists because the murderer is anonymous until the end, and therefore anybody might the antgonist.
Irony is an important factor in the story. It makes the story more intresting, adds to the suspence, and helps set the tone. Here are some examples of irony in the text:
"They were satisfied with themselves and with life." (How all the characters felt minutes before the chaos and horror that began)
"'What fun! It's an amusing idea, isn't it?'" (Vera Claythorne about the 10 china figures on the dining table that all of them would later dread looking at)
"
She
didn't want to die. She couldn't imagine wanting to die..." (Vera Claythorne's thoughts)
There is no dramatic irony in And Then There Were None, and this makes the story more suspenceful because the reader knows just as much as the characters, leaving both parties feeling helpless and unaware.
Thomas Rogers
Ethel Rogers
&
Thomas Rogers is a butler on Soldier Island working alongside his spouse. He is a strong man, and continues being a dignified and stately butler even after his wife's death and the death of several guests.
Ethel Rogers is a cook on Soldier Island working alonside her spouse. She is a fragile woman, and collapses after accusations are made against her and her husband.
On the 6th of May, 1929, Jennifer Brady, a woman Ethel and Thomas were working for died because the two were withholding medicine from her. The two benifited profusely from her will.
Genre
The following genres apply to
And Then There Were None
:
Suspence
Suspence is a major part of
And Then There Were None
, and is one of the main reasons why the novel is so enjoyable. Christie uses this literary element to leave the reader hanging after every single chapter. The reason for the suspence is that nobody knows who the murderer is, or who's going to be murdered next.
Mystery
Though
And Then There Were None
is a detective/mystery novel, it breaks many important rules of the detective/mystery genre because 10 people die (not one), there is no real detective, and the way the plot is set up the reader does not have a fair chance of deducing who the murderer is.
Irony & Lack of Dramatic Irony
Poem
The poem "Ten Little Soldier Boys" is very important in And Then There Were None, as it symbolizes what will happen to each one of the characters through-out the novel.
Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none
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