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Murder on the Orient Express

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on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Murder on the Orient Express

Literary Response-Characterization
Hercule Poirot is the main antagonist in the novel Murder on the Orient Express. He is a detective who is unimaginably good at solving cases, going to the point where he has enough money that he only takes on cases that interest him. He is a very logical detective and is a thorough analyst and investigator.

As for the Antagonist(s), they remain hidden throughout the novel. Some may say that the antagonists are the murderers, but some may say that Cassetti was the true antagonist, as he was the one who was being murdered for vengeance. Hercule Poirot is motivated to find the murderer so that he can put him or her to justice, while Cassetti was determined to remain hidden. The murderers, who were composed of almost all of the passengers, were also determined to remain hidden and execute Cassetti without being caught. However, Hercule Poirot eventually solved the case.

Comparative Response
In my opinion, I think that the novel Murder on the Orient Express created a more suspenseful atmosphere. The novel had me continuously guessing who the murderer was until the end, whereas The Masque of the Red Death did not provide as much suspense to me. This was mainly due to the fact that the Murder on the Orient Express actually had a human antagonist. In my opinion, there isn’t much suspense in The Masque of the Red Death. The only suspense in this short story that I can think of is in the selection: “The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat.” In which the suspense is only the identity of the mysterious guest, who is later revealed as the red death. This makes Murder on the Orient Express much more suspenseful in my view, as there are much more suspenseful selections and quotes in the novel, such as the quote “Not now. Not now. When it’s all over. When it’s behind us.”

Literary Response-Foreshadowing
Due to the nature of suspense novels, there were many examples of foreshadowing. One of these examples comes from page 24, chapter 3. In this example, M. Bouc says: “All around us are people, of all classes, of all nationalities, of all ages.” This quote foreshadows the ending of the novel; as when Poirot “Sits back and thinks”, he realizes that nearly all the passengers are connected with one another, and that such a diversity of nationality could only come from America. Another example of foreshadowing is on page 11; where Miss Debenham replies to Colonel Arbuthnot by saying: “Not now. Not now. When it’s all over. When it’s behind us-then” This foreshadows future events by setting up a suspenseful atmosphere; showing that there is an important event that is going to occur, in which Mr. Ratchett got murdered.
Comparative Response: Similarities
Conflict: Similarities- Examples of similarities regarding conflict between the novel and the poem are multiple. For one, the conflict shares the aspect of death, featuring murders and plagues. In the novel Murder on the Orient Express, somebody was murdered, hence the name of the title. In The Masque of the Red Death, it is an epidemic sweeping throughout a kingdom. Another similarity I considered was the fact that there were examples of the conflicts being foreshadowed in each work of art. For example, In “The Masque of the Red Death”, the way that the rooms were decorated and the way that the windows could turn the coming through to a sanguine, blood-red color depicts foreshadowing in my opinion. As for “Murder on the Orient Express”, I showed multiple examples of foreshadowing in the literary response section.

Comparative Response: Differences
Conflict: Differences- The differences between these works of art are more prominent than the similarities. One of the major differences is that the conflict in The Masque of the Red Death is man against nature, whereas the conflict in Murder on the Orient Express is depicted as an indirect form of man against man. Also, in the Masque of the Red Death, there can be multiple conflicts from different perspectives. The conflict could be seen as the plague, or it can be seen as Prospero, who completely ignores and refuses the fact that an epidemic is spreading across his kingdom. Another difference is the characterization. The reason I chose the difference as characterization when I was supposed to state differences for conflict was because of my belief that the characterization ties in directly with the conflict. This is normally the case for suspense and mystery novels, as suspects are a major part of the conflict or plot. The Masque of the Red Death in my opinion did not have as strong of a characterization as Murder on the Orient Express, because the only major character in my opinion is Prospero, whereas Murder on the Orient Express has many characters that each plays a role in the conflict.
Murder on the Orient Express
Literary Response-Setting
The main setting of the novel is aboard the Orient Express, while it is stuck in a snowdrift. An example of text evidence that displays this is a part of the novel from the page 47. The quote is as follows: “At half an hour after midnight we ran into the snowdrift. No one can have left the train since then.” M. Bouc said solemnly. “The murderer is with us-on the train now…” The second piece of text evidence is as follows: “The Orient Express had started on its three-day journey across Europe.”-Page 22.
The setting of this story is suspenseful because The Orient Express is stuck in a snowdrift, meaning that the murderer(s) cannot leave the train and is included among the other passengers. The number of passengers also makes the setting suspenseful; as there are only 12 passengers are on board; meaning that one or more of them are the murderer(s). This creates anxiety and tension among them.
In my opinion, I think that Agatha Christie did a great job at helping the reader visualize the setting of the novel. When I read it, the images were very clear to me as I read along. It is not difficult to visualize the scene as Agatha Christie does a spectacular job at depicting her thoughts and her story.

Literary Response-Dialogue
There are many examples of quotes in the novel that create suspense. For example, the 2nd quote mentioned in the foreshadowing section serves as an example. In this quote, Miss Debenham replies to Colonel Arbuthnot by saying: “Not now. Not now. When it’s all over. When it’s behind us-then”. This quote, as stated before, creates a suspenseful atmosphere. Another section of the book that creates suspense is on page 47; which was the section mentioned above when I described the setting. In this example, M. Bouc states: “The murderer is with us-on the train now…” This quote provides suspense in the novel through ways stated earlier in the setting section.

Depicted here is an image of Hercule Poirot, as shown in movies.
My (Extremely short) Overview
In my opinion, Murder on the Orient Express was a great novel. I never actually enjoyed suspense and mystery novels very much, yet I feel the need to say that I did however, enjoy this great work of art that had me continuously guessing throughout the story.
Murder on the Orient Express: Movie Trailer
Below is a video of the movie trailer for Murder on the Orient Express for the purpose of helping the audience visualize the plot and setting.
Full transcript