And Then There Were None

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The Storm Symbol Analysis

The Storm Symbol Icon
In the very beginning of the novel, Mr. Blore encounters an old man on the train who warns him of a coming storm. Mr. Blore does not believe him because it looks bright and sunny outside. Yet the storm does come. The slow approach of this bad weather mirrors growing danger on Soldiers Island. At the same time, the storm itself puts the guests on the island in even greater danger. No one can get to or leave the island when there is any bad weather so this random act of nature traps the characters – the weather only clears up once they are all dead. The storm also highlights how separated they all are from all civilization. Soldier's Island is completely isolated and still controlled by the natural environment. The ten guests on the island have returned to a more primitive state of nature, a world totally consumed by the struggle to survive.

The Storm Quotes in And Then There Were None

The And Then There Were None quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Storm. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper edition of And Then There Were None published in 2011.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“Watch and pray,” he said. “Watch and pray. The day of judgment is at hand.”

Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Blore speaks to an old stranger on the train. The man warns him of an impending storm, both physical and metaphorical.

The dialogue here enters a prophetic and spiritual tone. The repetition of the phrase “Watch and pray” combined with the commanding statements casts the old man as a sort of oracle. By his account, Mr. Blore should prepare himself for the trying events ahead. This oracular tone is corroborated by the idea of “the day of judgment”: a Christian belief in the return of Christ. According to that theological belief, the second coming of the messiah will cause a world-wide judgement of sinners. The old man applies this religious belief to Mr. Blore and implicitly to the other character’s in the novel — contending that they will meet their own trial.

This man’s presence poses a deeper question on fate and destiny within the novel. Although the murders to come are ultimately the result of human action, they often appear to have taken place due to divine intervention. That sense is primarily the result of the internal symbolic coherence of the text: Various images and lines predict what will transpire, giving the novel a sense of inevitability. Christie thus poses the question of whether the characters ultimately deserve their fates for having sinned before—and whether their murders are cruel or a twisted form of justice.


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Epilogue 2 Quotes

When the sea goes down, there will come from the mainland boats and men.

And they will find ten dead bodies and an unsolved problem on Soldier Island.

Related Characters: Justice Wargrave (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Storm
Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:

At the second epilogue’s end, Wargrave has finished explaining the way he organized the murder at Solider Island. He correctly predicts the way that the site of the crime will be discovered.

The text returns once more to a prophetic and spiritual tone. Wargrave imagines the necessary future of the “sea goes down” much like an oracle would, thus recalling the man on the train who predicted that a final judgement would be born on the characters. Rising and falling sea levels also calls to mind the Christian tales of the great deluge and Noah’s arc. Unlike with Noah, however, Wargrave prophesies that none will survive and that the declining sea level will only reveal “ten dead bodies.” Christie demonstrates through these religious allusions the depths of Wargrave’s megalomania: He presents himself as a pseudo-god who can pass divine justice on the other characters.

It bears noting, however, that the “unsolved problem” is in fact solved by the text’s end. Though Christie has resisted the conventions of a detective story by previously failing to reveal the outcome even in the first epilogue, the reader does finally hear the entire narrative parsed out by Wargrave’s letter. Thus even as he seeks to leave the events unsolved, Wargrave also reveals a wish for his story to be known—for his artistry of murder to be disseminated, just as Christie's own skills are made clear through her literary art.

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The Storm Symbol Timeline in And Then There Were None

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Storm appears in And Then There Were None. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Guilt Theme Icon in the corner of the train wakes up and says that there is a storm coming. Mr. Blore comments that the weather looks fine, but the old man assures him... (full context)