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And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas 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.