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"And Then There Were None" By Agatha Christie

2113 words - 9 pages

"Ten little Indians going out to dine; One went and choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little Indian boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little Indian boys traveling to Devon; One got left behind and then there were seven. Seven little Indian boys gathering up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little Indian boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little Indian boys going in for law; One got in chancery and then there were four.Four little Indian boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little Indian boys walking to the ...view middle of the document...

At least some of the murders are unjust if we do not consider all of Wargrave's victims murderers . Christie explores the line that divides those who act unjustly from those who seek to restore justice. She suggests that unjust behavior does not necessarily make someone bad and enforcing justice does not necessarily make someone good . Wargrave's victims, although they have violated the rules of moral behavior in the past, are, for the most part, far more likable and decent human beings than Wargrave. Although Wargrave serves justice in a technical sense, he is a cruel and unsympathetic man, and likely insane. The next theme would be the effects of guilt on one's conscience. By creating a story in which every character has committed a crime, Christie explores different human responses to the burden of a guilty conscience. Beginning with the first moments after the recorded voice reveals the guests' crimes, each character takes a different approach to dealing with his or her guilt. While the ones who do not own up to their crimes feel the guiltiest, no such correlation exists between levels of guilt and likelihood of survival. Conscience has no bearing on who lives the longest, as is illustrated by the contrast between the last two characters left alive, Lombard and Vera. Lombard feels no guilt, and the air of doom that enshrouds the island doesn't affect him. Vera, on the other hand, is so guilt-ridden that she ends her life by succumbing to the seemingly inevitable conclusion of the "Ten Little Indians" poem and the aura of almost supernatural vengeance that pervades the novel. Last but certainly not least is the theme of danger of reliance on class distinctions. This implies that in And Then There Were None takes place in 1930s Britain, a society stratified into strict social classes. These distinctions play a subtle but important role in the novel. As the situation on the island becomes more and more desperate, social hierarchies continue to dictate behavior, and their persistence ultimately makes it harder for some characters to survive. Rogers continues to perform his butler's duties even after it becomes clear that a murderer is on the loose, and even after the murderer has killed his wife. Because it is expected of a man of his social class, Rogers washes up after people, remains downstairs to clean up after the others have gone to bed, and rises early in the morning to chop firewood. The separation from the group that his work necessitates makes it easy for the murderer to kill him. Additionally, the class-bound mentality of Dr. Armstrong proves disastrous for himself and others, as he refuses to believe that a respectable professional man like Wargrave could be the killer.As they discuss what to do, Tony Marston chokes on poisoned whiskey and dies. Frightened, the party retreats to bed, where almost everyone is plagued by guilt and memories of their crimes. Vera Claythorne notices the similarity between the death of Marston and the...

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