Suspense In Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None

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In And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie chronicles the deaths of the ten main characters. Slowly, one by one, each character is killed off by an unknown. At first, the deaths were suspected as suicides, but as the coincidences build up, the thought about murder provoked the remaining characters’ minds. 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… everyone is killed. That isn’t the question though. The question is who is the killer? With an original plot of the story, the author adds an exciting twist to the story with suspense. One way Christie builds suspense is through the following repeated punctuation: ellipsis and question marks. Additionally, the author portrays many flashbacks that the main characters are having as their death inches closer.…show more content…
In the novel, Miss Brent is writing in an empty journal about how General Macarthur is dead. Suddenly, she writes how she knows the killer’s name, and after that, she states the killer’s name. Soon after, she thinks to herself about how she just wrote that. The author writes a thought addressed to Miss Brent: “Did I write that? Did I? I must be going mad…” (Christie 175). This thought with the ellipsis creates suspense for the reader because it makes the reader think about how Miss Brent would be mad (or crazy). Additionally, the question Miss Brent asked herself internally makes the reader question themselves why and is Miss Brent going mad. Moreover, the ellipsis also causes the reader to think about how Miss Brent going crazy would impact the storyline, creating a suspenseful scene, because we don’t know how that will change or twist the story. In addition, Agatha Christie uses many ellipses to communicate suspense to the reader. In the book, after another character was killed, the rest of the six are having dinner. At the end of the chapter, Christie includes ellipsis to make the scene suspenseful more than it already is. The author wrote, “Six people, behaving normally at breakfast…” (Christie 195). This sentence provokes many questions for the reader: Are more players going to be killed? Who is the killer? Does a player go crazy later in…show more content…
Close to the beginning, Vera was sitting in her room when she found a poem resting in a frame above the fireplace. After reading the frequently used poem, she had a flashback about something in the past that had occurred in her life. Agatha Christie remarks, “The sea that dragged you down to its depths. Drowned… Found drowned… Drowned at sea… Drowned--drowned--drowned…” (35). This creates suspense because it makes the reader think about how drowning is related to Vera. The following questions are only a few examples of what the reader might think after reading the flashback: Why doesn’t she want to remember the experience? Who drowned at sea? Flashbacks--if not explained--make the reader think about how it could be related to the book. The flashback described in the book is quite vague because it didn’t give much background information on how the flashback could be related to Vera. This leads to the reader thinking about why the flashback is important. In addition, another flashback was employed by the author. While General Macarthur was sleeping, he had a flashback. In the novel, the author described: “He’d known, perhaps, that Richmond was being deliberately sent to death” (Christie 84). This builds suspense for the reader because they would be asking themselves about Richmond and Leslie (two characters part
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