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Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie

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Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics

full title · Murder on the Orient Express or Murder on the Calais Coach

author · Agatha Christie

type of work · Novel

genre · Mystery

language · English

time and place written · 1925–1933, England

date of first publication · 1933

publisher · Berkley Books

narrator · Anonymous

point of view · The narrator speaks in the third person, focusing on the thoughts and actions of Poirot. The narrator is fairly objective in her observations, but the text is peppered with juicy, subjective details of each character. All observations seem to be consistent with Poirot, what the narrator thinks is the same as Poirot. There is one instance that first person is used. In Chapter 3, Part three, there is a brief moment where the reader is privy to the comical thoughts of M.Bouc and Dr.Constantine.

tone · The narrator is amused by the passengers aboard the Orient Express and seems to take pleasure in describing their predicament.

tense · Present

setting (time) · Winter, 1925–1933

setting (place) · The setting is first aboard a train headed to Stamboul, then Stamboul and then on a train from Stamboul to London, the Orient Express.

protagonist · Hercule Poirot

major conflict · A man is murdered aboard a train headed to London from Stamboul called the Orient Express. The morning after, the train gets stuck in the snow and it is up to Hercule Poirot to figure out which passenger was the murderer.

rising action · Hercule Poirot goes to Stamboul and must return to London on business, he rides the Orient Express back to London, the train stops in a snow bank

climax · Ratchett is murdered

falling action · Poirot is asked to launch an investigation of passengers on the train; he interviews passengers, makes observations, and propounds two solutions.

themes · The Justice of a Jury, The Insufficency of Law, The Morality of Murder

motifs · Class, Americans, Identity

symbols · Ratchett, Daisy, Food

foreshadowing · Conversation overheard by Poirot between Mary Debenham and Colonel Arbuthnot on the way to Stamboul, Ratchett tells Poirot someone is going to murder him, Princess Dragomiroff tells Poirot her arms are not strong and looks at her arms.

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