Symbolism in And Then There Were None
Symbolism provides another meaning to an object, idea, event, or person other than its literal meaning. They usually have a more significant meaning to the story, establishing a message that can help create a certain emotion or mood. The novel, And Then There Were None, written by Agatha Christie, presents us with various different symbols throughout the book that convey a deeper meaning, and force the readers to analyze the situations and connect them. The Ten Little Indians poem indicates the method of death that is brought upon the characters. The little china figures represent each guest in the house. The storm signifies violence and the killings on the island. By examining the Ten Little Indians poem, the little china figures, and the storm it is evident that Agatha Christie uses the literary device of symbolism very heavily in this novel.
To begin with, The Ten Little Indians poem reveals the way the house guests die. The murderer follows this poem and each death correlates to the lines of the poem. It foreshadows the upcoming murders, as it will match the next verse of the poem. After Emily Brent was found dead sitting in a chair with a mark of a hypodermic syringe on her neck and bee at the window, Lombard says, “Oh no, it isn’t a coincidence! It’s our murderer’s touch of local colour! He’s a playful beast. Likes to stick to his damnable nursery jingle as closely as possible!” (Christie 203). The guests finally realize the connection between the poem that was displayed for them and the deaths that are taking place on this island. Lombard mentions that the murderer likes to stick to the poem as closely as possible because Emily Brent’s death corresponds to fifth line in the poem, “Six little soldiers playing with a hive; /A bumble bee stung one and then there were five”. This explains how Emily Brent died; the syringe in her neck symbolizes the bumblebee stinging her, and the bee at the window ties it all together. After her death there were five guests left, this corresponds to the last part of the line where it states, “and then there were five”. Therefore, The Ten Little Indians poem is a symbol in this novel that shows the method of death that is brought upon each guest on the island.
Additionally, the little china dolls represent the guests on the island. After each murder, one doll either goes missing, or gets destroyed. Lombard and Armstrong start to come up with a theory about the killings, “b ut what we need is a theory to explain two deaths following rapidly on each other. – And he repeated the facts that Roger had given him about the disappearance of the two little china figures” (Christie 117). This is the point where the guests start to realize the connection between the murders and the china figures that are gradually going missing. The fact that two people died and two out of the ten china figures have disappeared at the same time is definitely not a coincidence. Clearly, the little china doll figurines are a symbol in the novel And Then There Were None.
Furthermore, the storm symbolizes the violence and death in the story. As the number of deaths increase so the intensity of the storm. At the beginning of the book, the storm is still brewing up, and calm as Christie states, “i n the drawing room, the French windows were open onto the terrace and the sound of the sea murmuring against the rocks came up to them” (Christie 44). The waves start to get a little harsh and the storm is beginning as all the guests have arrived to the island and got settled in. No deaths have occurred yet and storm reflects on that. The storm breaks out once General MacArthur dies, ” t he storm broke just as the old man’s body was borne through the door. The others were standing in the hall. There was a sudden hiss and roar as the rain came down” (Christie 147). The death of General MacArthur triggered the storm to start because as more guests die, the storm intensifies, showing that the storm reflects the deaths that occur on the island. Thus, the storm on the island symbolizes death and violence.
By examining the Ten Little Indians poem, the little china figures, and the storm it is evident that Agatha Christie uses the literary device of symbolism very heavily in this novel. First off, The Ten Little Indians poem indicates the way the guest die. The lines of the poem foreshadow their deaths. Moreover, the little china figures represent each guest of the island. Once a guest dies, a china doll disappears or gets destroyed. Lastly, the storm throughout the novel signifies the death and violence that occurs on the island. The more death and violence there is, the stronger the storm gets. In conclusion, Agatha Christie uses a great deal of symbols that add a lot of depth and stimulate the readers’ mind.