The book And Then There Were None was originally titled Ten Little Indians in 1939. At the time it was published, the word "Indian" was not considered politically incorrect, as it is today. Today we use the term Native American. Agatha Christie used the poem as a base for her story. By the time the book was set to be published in America, Christie had changed the word "Indian" to "soldier" and altered the title of her book so as not to offend her audience. In 1945, Rene Clair directed the first film version and used the word "Indian" as in the original. You can see a performance of it in the clip below. (This annotation contains a video)
What profession does Vera Claythorne work in?
Sine qua non is Latin for something that you cannot live without. The man seems to know the Phillip Lombard has done things that are illegal in the past. (This annotation contains a link)
As it is used in this sentence, the word "apparelled" most nearly means
Blore says that he has the final person count for the island: Brent, Claythorne, Armstrong, Marston, Wargrave, Lombard, Macarthur, and two servants named Rogers. Blore makes 10. There will be 10 people on the island.
There are also 10 soldiers mentioned in the poem in the introduction. 10 seems to be an important number. As you read, continue to think about why this might be important.
Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word "recumbent" as it is used here. Write one sentence explaining the meaning of the word. Write a second sentence suggesting an alternative word or phrase you could use in its place that would not change the meaning of the word.
We don't know why all of these people are coming together on solider island, but the mystery continues to build. Something about these characters should make us uncomfortable. The author is using small details like heat, flashback, and imagery (like the scream of the train) here to foreshadow something big that is coming up. (This annotation contains a video)
As it is used here, the word sinister most nearly implies that
The author here is using figurative language to compare the car to a vision or apparition. Need to brush up on figurative language? Watch the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
The house on Soldier Island makes the visitors feel unwelcome.
In order to understand what is happening in the story, we need to better understand the characters. Christie spends some time developing each character for us so we can get a better sense of who he or she is. Watch this video for a reminder of how authors develop characters. (This annotation contains a video)
What type of figurative language is being used in this sentence?
The phrase "there's a fly in the ointment" stated by Wargrave may not be something you have heard before. Or maybe you have. The phrase is an idiom. An idiom is an expression that, when taken as a whole, doesn't make literal sense. For example, if I call Tony Marston a party animal, I am not saying he is inhuman. The term "party animal" is an idiom, an expression that cannot be taken literally.
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What trait is the author trying to show the reader about Emily Brent in this passage?
The voice from the wall is going to set off a series of events. Pay attention to what the voice reveals, something important about each person on the island. Think about how this incident causes a change in the plot of the story for the reader.
In two or more sentences, explain why Vera reacts to the record by screaming and calling it horrible.
Swan Song is another idiom. A swan song here does not refer to the singing of a swan. Rather it is an expression for the last planned performance of work of art by a performer or artist. (This annotation contains a link)
The word "impromptu" in this sentence means nearly the same as
Blore examines the note and says it was from a "coronation machine." He is speaking of a kind of typewriter. The observations Blore makes tell the reader that there is no way to find out who wrote the letter since it is typed on plain paper. The mystery of the host deepens.
Explain, in your own words, what Wargrave plans to do to help him figure out the owner of the house. Write your summary in one to two sentences.
Verisimilitude means to have an appearance of truth. A of the people gathered there had what they perceived was a realistic and actual connection to the owner of the island. This is, in fact false. The word "verisimilitude" may seem difficult to understand, so we can look for other ways to help us understand what it means. Watch the video below for one example. (This annotation contains a video)
What kind of figurative language is being used when Blore says "Cat's out of the bag"?
In the previous paragraph, Wargrave says he gave a summary and the jury charged Seton as guilty. Armstrong recalls a different version, one where Judge Wargrave used his summary as a platform to persuade the jury to vote guilty. As the guests continue to reveal more about the crimes they are accused of, let's pay attention to who admits and who denies or manipulates the past to appear more innocent.
Summarize the crime Lombard has been accused of. Then, explain how he explains his behavior. Answer in two or more sentences.
On top of learning about the different crimes these characters are accused of, we will also learn their motivations. Here, Rogers and his wife are accused of killing their employer for the money in her will. Just before this, we saw Lombard admit his motive was self-preservation. Keep track of both the the crimes they are accused of as well as thoughts on what might have been their motivations for committing these crimes.
Emily Brent could best be described as
Marston is the first person on the island to die. The book has become a murder mystery with his death. Now, our task as the reader is to figure out who did it and how they did it.
If the night was not cold, why are the characters shivering? Explain your answer drawing evidence from the text.
A man just died, and the characters all feel a sense of unease, but the house itself is actually the opposite of a house that would give off a sense of unease. By putting her characters in a modern house, Christie is playing with the tone and mood of this murder mystery. (This annotation contains a video)
Arthur Richmond died in battle. Explain, in your own words, if you believe Macarthur is guilty of Arthur Richmond's death. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
The poem is mentioned again. Pay attention to how the first soldier in the poem dies: by choking. Tony Marston is the first on the island to die, and he also dies by choking in a way. Do you think the rest of the people on the island will follow suit? We have to read on to find out.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a type of French wine. The surgeon here is going to drink wine while operating. We are starting to understand that Armstrong was probably drunk during the surgery that he is accused of murder for. (This annotation contains an image)
Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word "desultory" as it used in this sentence. Write one sentence giving the definition of the work. Rewrite the sentence using an alternative word or phrase for the word.
Despite the fact that the sky looks calm, Lombard predicts a storm is coming. This rough weather foreshadows the rougher events that are to come in the story.
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What does Emily Brent suggest is the cause of Mrs. Rogers's death?
Blore is a detective, but that doesn't mean he is the most perceptive person of the group. Compare Blore's reasoning skills to those of Wargrave or Lombard. Which of those three would make the best detective? Will any of the three figure out the mystery behind Marston and Mrs. Rogers's murders? Who will be the first? We will only find out if we keep reading.
Lombard doesn't seem to care that Fred Narracott's boat is late getting the island because he is enjoying his vacation.
Blore, Lombard, and Wargrave all seem to be feeling a sense of unease. Two people have died, the boat isn't coming, and a storm is coming at the island. All of the people have been accused of murder, and no one appears to be safe. How would you feel if you were in their shoes? Think about the situation from their perspective.
Which of the items listed below does Emily Brent see as proof of the Rogerses' guilt?
In years past, to say a woman was "in trouble" was a nice way to say that an unmarried woman was pregnant. How do you think the pious Emily Brent will react to one of her servants who gets pregnant outside of marriage?
Why does Armstrong choose to talk to Lombard?
Watch the video below to learn more about cyanide and its effect as a poison. (This annotation contains a video)
Lombard and Armstrong believe that Marston and Mrs. Rogers were killed in accordance with
Using dialogue as a recap, Christie is reminding the reader of what they already know. This novel is a murder mystery, and Christie wants you to figure out the killer before the end . . . if you can.
The author uses the word oblivion here to mean that
Despite the fact that it is a sunny day, the characters can see storm clouds in the distance. Do you think it is easy to see a storm based on looking at the clouds? The video below shows the changes we see in clouds before a storm begins. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Macarthur mean when he tells Vera that he "knows"? Explain your answer in two or more sentences using evidence from the text.
A "primus," as used here, is a reference to a brand of camping stove. The video shows how to assemble one from the 50s, so this would be a model a few years later than the one Blore is referring to in this novel. But still, you can at least get an idea by watching. (This annotation contains a video)
Why are the men searching the house?
Blore was a detective in the past, and now he makes his living as a private investigator. Lombard, who has an unclear background, appears to be able to reason things out more quickly than Blore and tell more convincing lies. Which man would you want to be friends with if stuck on this island? As you learn more about these characters, see if you change your mind.
Phillip Lombard uses a ______ to compare himself to a rat .
Although it may not be a popular American dish, cow or lamb tongue is considered a delicious meat in many countries from England to Mexico.
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What does Vera count on the table here?
Despite the fact that Wargrave is an old man, the word "grandfather" here is not in reference to his age. A grandfather chair is a Victorian style of chair with tufted cushions, a high back, and arm rests, like the one below. (This annotation contains an image)
What part of his past does Wargrave show in these lines?
While Lombard thinks that a woman would be incapable of killing Macarthur or the others, Wargrave points out that only a little force was needed for Macarthur, and the other deaths needed no strength to speak of. Who are the females on the island now? Do you think either capable of these kinds of murders? The only way to find out who the killer is to keep reading.
As it is used in this sentence, the word "indignation" most nearly means
To be exonerated means to be cleared of guilt. Wargrave is trying to establish whether any of the island visitors could have murdered Mrs. Rodgers or Anthony Marston. Now he must figure out if anyone can be completely cleared of the third murder. Let's examine the alibis for each person and see if there are any holes. Remember, we are trying to figure out who is the murderer now.
Philip Lombard and Dr. Armstrong are still under suspicion because they were apart for a time.
At the end of a trial, the lawyers are allowed to sum up all the evidence in a summation. Justice Wargrave appears to be running his own courtroom here on the island. He is proving everyone's possible guilt and no one's innocence. (This annotation contains a video)
Vera says that Phillip Lombard doesn't hold human life in high regard. Give an example of his actions, either ones mentioned in this story or ones from his past, that demonstrate this trait. Use the text to support your answer. Write your answer in two or more sentences.
This information about the doctor being able to lie about medical knowledge might be important. Perhaps Dr. Armstrong might have had an opportunity to kill Macarthur. As you continue reading, think of which characters have an alibi and which do not. Perhaps you will be able to figure out the killer before it is revealed at the end of the book.
What cliche is the judge referring to here?
The narrator of this story knows the actions of every person on the island and the thoughts of most of them as well. What kind of narrator is this? Watch the video below to refresh you memory on literary point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
Why are the women locking their doors?
The theory that a person doesn't sleep well if something is on their mind is often true. Lombard seems to be implying that because Blore is able to sleep, he doesn't feel guilty about anything. While at first we may think he is saying that Blore is innocent, perhaps he is just saying that Blore is not innocent and that he doesn't feel guilt for the things he is doing. We can read this comment at multiple levels.
What evidence do we see that Rogers was not murdered during the night?
Hysteria is a real medical condition marked by disturbing emotional outbursts and actions. The doctor has to get Vera to think more calmly, but can Vera stay sane for the rest of the book if she is showing signs of mental weakness already? (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the characters listed below still denies being guilty of murder?
Here we see the author has broken from spoken dialogue to give us a peik at Brent's inner thoughts. Notice how the author uses both internal and external dialogue to give the reader the necessary information in the story aside from just describing the actions of each character.
We know the next character in the soldier poems dies by bee sting.
Suddenly, Emily Brent hears a bee. Is this the author using foreshadowing?
Emily Brent says she does not feel guilty for Beatrice's death because she is not to blame for her suicide. Do you think she continues to feel this way throughout the story? Why or why not? Explain your answer in two or more sentences. Use evidence from the text to support our answer.
Jude Wargrave states that Emily Brent has been cleared of guilt, acquitted, because she was the next to die. The real killer is still out there. (This annotation contains a video)
The word mad, as it is used here, most nearly means the same as
The four gentleman don't want to make Vera feel uncomfortable, but they want to make sure she is not hiding a gun in her clothing, so they ask her to put on a bathing suit and then search her room. Even in a time of turmoil, the gentleman keep their manners.
Why are the five remaining people staying together to search the house?
The author uses the words "cackle of laughter" to give us an idea of the way the laugh sounded. Some people cackle when they find something funny, and others cackle when they are nervous, like a nervous laugh. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do the gentlemen want to go to the kitchen with Vera?
Vera, even in her state of panic, remembers that there is a killer out there. She won't drink the brandy in case it has been poisoned. Can she keep up her vigilance until the end of the story? Will these wits help her leave the island alive? We will have to read on to find out.
What was used to kill Wargrave?
Chancery is a reference to a court of law. The solder in the poem was sent to prison, and now the Judge has been dressed for court in a reference to that line from the poem.
Explain what Lombard means when he says "doublecross." Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
We see another flashback to Vera's experience with Cyril, the child she is accused of killing. So far she has never admitted guilt, but this story shows us that Vera was hoping Cyril would drown in the strong tide.
What kind of figurative language is being used to describe Blore here?
Here, Christie is using a play on words. The phrase "that person is all ears" is an idiom. It does not mean a person is actually made up of only ears, rather that they are listening intently. Blore is listening with all his ears, which is to say, he is all ears at this moment.
Why would Vera want to hear two voices?
We have heard other characters or the narrator comment that Blore and Lombard are more physically powerful. Dr. Armstrong is a smart man, so it would make sense he would use cunning to accomplish his tasks, if he is the killer, that is. Let's see if brute force or cunning is the killer in the end.
The disappearance of the fourth soldier from the table implies that
Lombard hopes to use a technique called heliographing to get help. If you don't know what heliographing is, watch the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word "stolidly" in this sentence. Write one sentence defining the term. Write a second sentence suggesting an alternative word or phrase that could be used in its place that would not change the meaning of the sentence.
The term "red herring" refers to throwing in a false clue. It is a type of foreshadowing, only it is foreshadowing the opposite of what is really happening. The video below explains the history of the term and its use in literature in more detail. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Blore want Lombard to stay outside?
Blore believes Lombard is the killer, Lombard believes it is Blore, and Vera believes it is Armstrong. We still are no closer to finding out our killer, but the story has a little more left. Let's see if you can figure out the killer before the final page. There is an epilogue after the last chapter that reveals all of the secrets of the murders on the island.
The bear is a reference to
Only two people remain on the island that we know of. Do you think it is one of them or is there someone else hiding on the island?
How many nights have passed since the death of General Macarthur?
Vera has used her feigned concern over Armstrong's body to put herself in close enough proximity to get her hands on the revolver. That is what Lombard means by "womanly solicitude."
Why is Vera comfortable returning to the house again? Explain your answer in two or more sentences using evidence from the text.
Be sure to read the epilogue. The details of each murder are explained in detail. Let's see if you were right in your guesses or if there were some things you didn't notice the first time around.
Mr. Morris is probably best at which of the following?
Here is a key point that we might have not picked up on. All of the crimes that the characters are accused of could not be prosecuted in a legal court because of lack of evidence. Thankfully, Christie uses a dialogue between two detectives to help us remember this point.
Explain, in two or more sentences, how the detectives know Armstrong was not the last person alive on the island. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
The story ends with Vera on the island, what we assume to be alone. But, then someone moved the chair to the wall, so there was another person on the island! Let's read on to find out who.
Turn the page to see the letter the police received that will explain it all.
A Manuscript Document Sent To Scotland Yard by the Master of the Emma Jane Fishing Trawler
What two traits does the killer admit that he possess?
Clearly, when we look at this story, we can see the judge is talking about Rogers and his wife. Here is the beginning of his island killing collection.
Of the ten people the judge singled out for his murder spree, who survived his the killing?
We now see that Armstrong was helping the judge, though he didn't know the judge was the murderer. Now we can see how much help Armstrong gave to Wargrave and if that was part of the red herring mentioned earlier.
The details of Armstrong's death were unknown until now. Armstrong was killed by
Though the judge describes the red forehead wound as the mark of Cain, there is no official mark of Cain. According to the book of Genesis in the Bible, Cain killed his brother Abel and was left with a mark to show his guilt; however, no actual description of the mark exists. The police could not have know that the mark on the forehead the judge describes was a reference to the mark of Cain. Perhaps the judge is not as in touch with reality as he thinks.
Chapters 12 through the Epilogue Quiz