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Mary Wlodyka

November 27, 2018

Honors English 4
Ms. McFadden
And Then There Were None…

Think about the conflict presented in this novel. How would you act if you were faced with the same
challenge? What would you do differently to resolve that conflict?
In this novel, a group of ten people were invited to an island and then were trapped there with a
killer on the loose; everyone then had to figure out how to stay alive and get off the island. If I were faced
with this same challenge, I would have acted the same way that the character Vera acted: confused and
scared. Vera was very skeptical of those around her, when she was faced with a very horrifying moment
that reminded her of a bad moment in her life, she then screamed causing the others to run up to check on
her. One offered her water to calm her nerves, she responded quickly with “where did this come from?”
and then denying the offer of water remembering she can not just take something from another person and
risk being poisoned (Christie 219). I would have done the same thing, you can not trust anyone when you
are in a situation like that. On the island, the characters were then trying to figure out who the killer was
so they did not have to fear any more. The judge, Justice Wargrave, was quick to make this into a case;
speaking to the group as if he were the detective solving it. After yet another murder, he ordered to the
group “now let us examine the evidence”and then went on to pretend to interrogate people for information
(Christie 151). I can not say that I would have done anything different than he would to solve the issue
because if they worked as a group trying to solve the murders, the more likely they would be to finding
who did it and save their lives. If stuck in a situation where I could potentially die, I would be very
frightened at first but then try to solve the problem to avoid being hurt.

What is the author’s perspective? Do they present an argument or message of importance? What
was the author’s purpose in writing this novel? In your opinion, did the novel achieve its purpose?
In the novel ​And Then There Were None ​by Agatha Christie, she uses many red herrings to
convey her challeng​ing yet organized perspective. She presents a challenge for herself by writing about a
large group of people, very different people I might add, and then has to tie all of their lives together.
Christie said in her authors note that “it was so difficult to do that the idea fascinated [her]” (Christie).
She was able to take on a very complicated type of book, a story told in parts by multiple people who
house very different back stories and feelings that were developed. It was a very difficult thing to do if
she was going to do it well; the challenge intrigued her and that became her message of importance,
overcoming the seemingly impossible.
I believe that she was able to achieve this by providing the characters stories and feelings, known
as red herrings, and then roping the reader back in with repetition of the poem ​Ten Little Soldiers. ​Christie
developed each individual character backstory to show her intelligence in writing, such as the character
Vera. After her encounter with “a broad ribbon of wet seaweed … hanging down from the ceiling” she
was unable to do anything else but scream (Christie 218). The author continuously developed upon her
backstory of her husband dying at sea which caused her to develop a fear of the ocean. As soon as this
moment is over she is able to circle the audience's attention back to the murder mystery the book is
actually about by repeating lines from the poem such as “five little soldier boys going in for law; one got
in Chancery and then there were Four” (Christie 223). By repeating this line after finding Justice
Wargraves body which happened moments after Vera’s incident, she was able to weave the audience's
attention in and out of the actual story that she wrote. Christie was able to develop a very strong novel out
of the use of red herring fallacies and repetition to keep the reader intrigued with a well written text.

Concerning Agatha Christie’s novel, ​do you think that any man or woman has the knowledge and the
right to single-handedly deal out punishment to others? If so, when is it appropriate for him or her to
do so? If not, why not?
I do not believe that any person has the knowledge and right to serve justice where they believe it
needs to be served. This idea is heavily contrasted throughout the novel ​And Then There Were None ​by
Agatha Christie, there is a record player that is turned on and lists each of the “crimes” that the
individuals on the island committed. At the end of the recording the voice says “prisoners at the bar, have
you anything to say in your defence?” developing the tone that they are on trial for the crimes that the
killer believes they committed (Christie 47). This statement made by the killer is their way to justify the
fate that they have chosen for each individual; making it morally acceptable in their eyes for doing what
they believe is the right thing to do. Whether or not they committed an actual crime, I do not believe that
one individual has the right to deal out punishment to others.
Vera Claythorne was accused of killing a child by the name of Cyril Ogilvie Hamilton. She later
explained what happened in the situation, describing it as her “attention was distracted” and she “couldn’t
get there on time” (Christie 66). She did not intentionally kill the little girl, it was in no way intended that
she would get distracted and the child would drown. Yes, she could have been paying attention to the
child or not let the little girl swim if they did not have someone to watch the child the entire time. It was
not her hand that killed the child and yet the killer believes that it is Vera’s undeniable fault. Just because
one individual believes in something does not mean that they should be allowed to determine the fate of
The murderer ended up being Justice Wargraves, a person who worked in the legal system as a
judge, had the knowledge of how it worked to convict someone of a crime and how to discern when to
accuse someone of being guilty and when not to. It was very ironic to find out the one person that I
believed to be able to do the most right out of all the characters was the one who organized the entire
ordeal. In my opinion the legal system should be incharge for deciding the fate of someone if the commit
a crime so that they can be properly punished. Although Justice Wargrave had alternative reasons for why
he gathered the group together, he still was justifying his reason for gathering the group together because
they all committed murders of people. Showing that he believed in the “an eye for an eye” technique;
which contrasts with my belief that no individual has the right to deal out punishment for others, no
matter the crime.

A Study in Scarlet

If you could change the time of this novel, when and where would the story begin and why would this
setting fit the overall plot of the novel?
A Study in Scarlet​ by Arthur Conan Doyle was set in late 19th century London. The setting and
time period play an integral role in portraying the major themes throughout the book. The idea of
organized religion being corrupt and the police force being useless are heavily developed through the 19th
century part of the book. If I were to change this, I would set it in the present day 2018 in a busy city. By
placing the book in 2018, it still abides by the important themes in the novel of police incompetence and
religious corruption. These ideas will forever be present in our society because they are timeless concepts
of society, someone will always find a fault in the police force and how they are not doing their job the
right way or someone will always find a piece of corruption within organized religion because they do not
like the way that it is being done.

How does the use of figurative devices strengthen the character portrayals within the novel?
Arthur Conan Doyle was able to use imagery and symbolism to strength character portrayals
within the novel. The first part of the book was written from Watsons perspective of the crime that
occured because it was taken from one of his journals. He was able to describe things, that if the book was
written in Holme’s perspective, the audience would be able to understand. Such as the moment described
by Watson, ​“Sherlock Holmes approached the body, and kneeling down, examined it intently” (Doyle
30). This is a simple example, yet it provides a great contrast of their minds. Watson sees it simple how it
is, and yet, it also makes the audience think of how Holmes would have described this single moment.
Possibly the details he would have included about the body, what he could deduce from the situation,
what tangents he would go on about the body or something he remembered from his past. The small bits
of imagery that Watson includes not only strengthens his character but also Holmes’.
Another figurative device that Doyle uses in the novel is the symbol of the ring in the second half
of the book. For Jefferson Hope, the ring is a symbol of the death of his love and then manifests itself into
his revenge. He says that the men “were guilty of the death of two human beings - a father and a
daughter,” the ring belonged to Lucy Ferrier, his dead fiance (Doyle 113). This was his sadness and
heartbreak that the ring symbolized for him. He lost the love of his life and was constantly reminded of it
by the ring. As for his revenge, he vowed that “his last thoughts should be of the crime for which he was
punished,” speaking about how he will do whatever it takes to seek revenge upon the person who killed
Lucy. Through the use of imagery and symbolism, Watson, Holmes, and Hope’s characters were
strengthened throughout the book.

How does this novel exemplify the tensions present in late 19th century London?
The book ​A Study in Scarlet ​is set out of late 19th century London; during this time period there
was a large religious Mormon Movement and groups being created upon those ideas such as the Danite
band, a group separated from the Mormons that acted almost like a police force. Doyle is not shy of
hiding his feelings about religion, specifically Mormons, throughout the book. In the second part of the
book Jefferson and Lucy were saved in the desert, but then found to be forced into their corrupted
religious ways. Jefferson was told that “it can only be as believers in [their] own creed,” meaning that
they would have to subject themselves to the Mormon religion changing their values and who they are for
a corrupt practice. Religion is supposed to be about acceptance and love and yet these people were about
to reject others and let them die if they did not believe the exact same thing as they did.

As for the police hypocrisy, for revealing their need for help to Holme’s and then when they are
out in public they have a desire to be seen as strong characters who never doubt themselves. One example
of this was when a detective states that “[he] flatters [himself] that [he has] managed it rather neatly” then
going on to describe how he has come to a conclusion that Holme’s clearly helped him reach. By using
such narcissistic tendencies, attempting to flatter himself, is only making him seem worse because he is a
stereotypical policeman of the time.
Works Cited:
Christie, Agatha. ​And Then There Were None.​ HarperCollins Publishers, 1940.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. ​A Study in Scarlet.​ Penguin Classics, 2001.