In chapter 7, Emily Brent tells Vera Claythorne about an incident in her past, which will later be revealed as the reason that Emily was summoned to the island. During their walk on the beach together, Emily tells Vera about the suicide of Beatrice, a former maid in Emily’s home. This narrative and their subsequent conversation, as well as information about Vera that the reader learns in other chapters, establish more differences than similarities between the two characters.
In addition to their gender, the women are comparable in that both contributed to another person’s death, even though they did not actually kill them. In Emily’s case, she fired Beatrice when she learned of her pregnancy, leaving the woman homeless and desperate. While working as the caregiver for a young boy, Cyril, Vera allowed him to drown while swimming at the beach.
The differences include their subsequent attitudes toward those deaths. Emily insists she bears no responsibility, while Vera is racked with guilt. Other differences are that Emily is older and depicted as sexually repressed, while Vera was romantically involved with the boy’s cousin. Emily had nothing to gain from Beatrice’s death but was motivated by self-righteous morality. Vera, however, hoped that Cyril’s death would benefit her lover and herself after they married.