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Key Facts

full title  ·  And Then There Were None (originally published as Ten Little Indians)

author  ·  Agatha Christie

type of work  ·  Novel

genre  ·  Murder mystery

language  ·  English

time and place written  · 1939, England

date of first publication  · 1939

publisher  ·  G. P. Putnam’s Sons

narrator  ·  The narrator is an unnamed omniscient individual.

point of view  ·  The point of view constantly shifts back and forth between each of the ten characters.

tone  ·  The narrator relates the story in a dark, foreboding, and sinister tone, and often reacts dramatically (or melodramatically) to the events of the story.

tense  ·  Past

setting (time)  · 1930s

setting (place)  ·  Indian Island, a fictional island off the English coast

protagonist  ·  Although no clear protagonist exists, Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard are the most fully developed characters, and they outlive almost everyone else.

major conflict  ·  An anonymous killer gathers a collection of strangers on Indian Island to murder them as punishment for their past crimes.

rising action  ·  The accusations made by the recorded voice turn the island getaway into a scene of paranoia; the murders of Tony Marston, Mrs. Rogers, General Macarthur, Mr. Rogers, and Emily Brent indicate that no one will be able to escape the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme.

climax  ·  The apparent death of Judge Wargrave and the disappearance of Dr. Armstrong strip away any sense of order.

falling action  ·  The murders of Blore, Lombard, and Vera, combined with Wargrave’s confession, restore some sense of order to the chaos of the story.

themes  ·  The administration of justice; the effects of guilt on one’s conscience; the danger of reliance on class distinctions

motifs  ·  The “Ten Little Indians” poem; dreams and hallucinations

symbols  ·  The storm; the mark on Judge Wargrave’s forehead; food

foreshadowing  ·  Vera’s first sight of Indian Island, which she thinks looks sinister, hints at the trouble to come; the old man’s warning to Blore on the train that the day of judgment is approaching hints that Blore will soon die; the “Ten Little Indians” poem lays out the pattern for the imminent murders; Vera’s fascination with both the poem and the hook on her ceiling presage her eventual decision to hang herself.

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And Then There Were None (SparkNotes Literature Guide)