And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

Start Free Trial

In chapter 5 of And Then There Were None, what happens to one of the china solider figures?

In chapter 5 of And Then There Were None, Rogers notices that one of the ten figures is missing. The figure mysteriously disappeared after Marston died to represent that there was one less person on the island. Each time a character dies after this, another figure goes missing. The person running this deadly game intentionally got rid of the figures to make everyone else nervous.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 5, Rogers looks at the dining room table that had originally had ten china figures of soldiers. He notices something is different about them and says to himself,

“That’s a rum go! I could have sworn there were ten of them.”

This tells the reader that there are no longer ten figures on the table. Now, mysteriously, one has disappeared, leaving nine left. As the story goes on, another figure goes missing each time a person dies. In the chapter before this, Marston died after drinking a drink that was poisoned, so now there is one less figure.

The figures disappear with each death because the person who we later find out is running this situation wants to increase the characters’ fear and sense of doom. The way that each person dies also reflects the order of the soldiers' deaths in the nursery rhyme that the china figures represent. For example, at the end of chapter 5, Vera Claythorne notes that the first death in the nursery rhyme is eerily similar to Marston's. Marston choked when he sipped the drink that was poisoned, which does make his death similar to the soldier who choked while out to dinner. The way the first figure disappears after his death reinforces this similarity to the nursery rhyme, which makes the characters more and more distraught.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team