And Then There Were None

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Class Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Justice Theme Icon
Guilt Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in And Then There Were None, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Class Theme Icon

Each character has a very specific, defined role in English society. For example, the Rogers come as servants, Vera as the secretary, and Anthony as the moneyed socialite. There is a doctor, a judge, a general, and a spinster, and each play out their roles exactly as they should – at least when they are first on the island. This IN this way, the novel establishes the rigidity of the English social order. And Then There Were None is set in 1930s England, a highly stratified society where one's social class could define one's life and relationships. The chaos and fear that comes to rule the island is the only thing that can break down these social and class barriers. Yet it is difficult for some of the characters to leave their expected roles, even when this puts them in danger. Mr. Rogers maintains his duties as servant even after his wife, along with some of the other guests, have been killed. He makes meals at the appropriate time, serves cocktail and even ventures out alone to chop wood for the guests – which leads to his death.

Agatha Christie sets up this rigid structure and maintains it for a while to demonstrate how difficult it is to break down the barriers set by class. When it does finally happen the characters don't only lose their social graces, they also begin to revert to an inhuman, animalistic state. They start eating out of cans in the kitchen, and leaving the house to find safety in nature. Vera even observes that the guests who have survived start to look more like animals. When their main worry is survival there is no time to worry about what is proper. Yet Agatha Christie shows that it takes something of the magnitude of being trapped on an island with an insane murderer to interfere with the class order of British society.

Class ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Class appears in each chapter of And Then There Were None. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Class Quotes in And Then There Were None

Below you will find the important quotes in And Then There Were None related to the theme of Class.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Definitely Soldiers Island was news!

Related Characters: Justice Wargrave (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Island
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

As the story begins, Justice Wargrave is in transit to Soldiers Island. While browsing the newspaper, he thinks of the various times he has read of the destination before.

Wargrave’s comment that the island "was news" establishes the relative notoriety of the destination. What is to come in the text, then, will not take place in an anonymous or blank space, but rather in a destination already associated with stories and scandals. In this way, the setting mirrors the unscrupulous lives of the characters, making it the perfect symbolic site for the murders. Indeed, that the island “was news” foreshadows how their story will itself become a part of Soldiers Island’s infamous narrative.

Furthermore, this line shows that Wargrave has read extensively about the setting of the novel. He evidently has a body of knowledge about the island that other characters lack. Although this information might seem to present him as a trustworthy character, the careful reader should be suspicious of his mastery of the space. Christie here foreshadows how Wargrave will be more capable and more in control of the events to come.

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