And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

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What are three examples of foreshadowing in the first two chapters of And Then There Were None?

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There are a lot of examples of foreshadowing to be found in the first two chapters of And Then There Were None. In the first chapter, for example, Christie shows the degree to which so many of these characters are haunted by their past. Additionally, in the second chapter, Christie reveals Wargrave's reputation as a hanging judge and also introduces the poem. All of these details are critical to the rest of the book.

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The first two chapters of And Then There Were None contain a great deal of foreshadowing, relating to future plot events of the story (and even, perhaps, to the identity of the killer).

As the story opens, we are introduced to the various guests, beginning with Justice Wargrave, then Vera, and so on. What's interesting about this first chapter is that we already are beginning to see the degree to which many of these characters are in some way haunted by their past. Vera's mind flashes back towards the scene of Cyril's drowning (chapter 1, part 2); Lombard, meanwhile, recalls that in his past, "legality had not always been a sine qua non" (chapter 1, part 3); Macarthur complains about the effect of a rumor, connected to an event three decades earlier (chapter 1, part 5), etc. So many of these characters are haunted in some way or another. However, Wargrave shows no guilt or regret whatsoever regarding his past, which is a detail that foreshadows his role as the murderer.

In addition, you might also notice the last two lines which close the book's first chapter:

"He's nearer the day of judgment than I am!"

But there, as it happens, he was wrong.

These two lines allude to future events in the story, suggesting that Blore will be killed somehow later in the story.

The second chapter continues much of the same character-based foreshadowing that is so critical to the first chapter. It is in the second chapter, for example, that we learn of Wargrave's reputation as a hanging judge. (This will be a deeply important point of the book, being that it is both the grounds on which Wargrave is accused during the "indictment scene," even as this detail is also closely tied into the motivations that drive Wargrave to kill in the first place.) Additionally, in the second chapter, we are introduced to the poem "The Ten Little Indians," which will be a major plot point for the rest of the novel, shaping the methods by which Wargrave kills his victims.

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Christie peppers chapters 1 and 2 of And Then There Were None with foreshadowing comments and thoughts, some of them ironic. For example, in chapter 1, Lombard recalls Isaac Morris, the man who hired him to go to the island. Morris said, "There you will hold yourself at the disposal of my client." To be at someone's disposal means to do his bidding, yet the word "disposal" also means "to get rid of," which is what Justice Wargrave does to Lombard. 

In chapter 2, Dr. Armstrong reflects on how much he needs this vacation. He says to himself, "I'll imagine to myself that I'm not going back." He thinks an island lends itself to being "a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return." Of course, Armstrong never returns from the island because he dies there.

Both Vera and Wargrave think about Mrs. Rogers in ways that predict her death. Vera thinks, "She looked like a woman who walked in mortal fear," and Wargrave thinks she looks "scared to death." Mrs. Rogers proves to be quite mortal and is one of the first to die.

Two powerful examples of foreshadowing are the "Ten Little Indians" rhyme that Vera reads when she finds it posted over the fireplace and the scripture Miss Brent reads to herself. The poem foreshadows how all ten guests will meet their deaths. The scripture foreshadows that the guests all have performed the "crimes" for which they are about to be punished; their feet are about to be taken in their own nets.

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In chapter one, Mr. Blore is riding on the train and encounters a drunk old man.  Before the man leaves, he remarks to Mr. Blore "Watch and pray.  The day of judgment is at hand."  Mr. Blore thinks "He's nearer the day of judgment than I am."  Then Agatha Christie tells us "And there, as it happens, he was wrong."  This foreshadows that the day of judgement is indeed at hand for Mr. Blore.  (pg 17)

In chapter two, Vera sees the island for the first time.  "But there was no house visible, only the boldly silhouetted rock with its faint resemblance to a giant head. There was something sinister about it.  She shivered faintly."  This foreshadows that something evil is going to happen on this island. (pg 24)

Also in chapter two, the characters are impressed with the arrival of Anthony Marston.  " It was a fantastic moment.  In it, Anthony Marston seemed to be something more than mortal.  Afterwards more than one of those present remembered that moment."  This foreshadows that something is going to happen to Anthony Marston to show that he is very mortal.  (pg 27)

Here is an extra example.  When Fred Narracott brings the visitors to the island, he says "Can't land on Soldier Island when there is a southeasterly.  Sometimes 'tis cut off for a week or more."  This foreshadows the weather and the length of time they will spend on the island.   (pg 29)

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Give an example of foreshadowing in And Then There Were None.

There are several examples of foreshadowing in And Then There Were None, but one of the most significant is when Miss Vera Claythorne reads the rhyme above the fireplace when the guests first arrive on the island. The rhyme is about ten little soldier boys who die one by one from different causes. The rhyme makes Vera happily remember her childhood days and makes her smile. “Of course! This was Solider Island!” she thinks to herself.

This is an example of foreshadowing because when the guests start dying one by one, each one of their deaths mimics the deaths of the soldier boys in the nursery rhyme. They also all die from causes in the exact same order as the boys in the story. So as she happily reads the lines, she is actually foreshadowing the order of events that will happen in the novel. For instance, when she reads the last line, “He went and hanged himself and then there were none,” she is foreshadowing her own death, in which she will be the last person alive on the island and hang herself in her room.

The fact that the nursery rhyme is such a centerpiece of the room and is displayed “in a gleaming chromium frame” also makes this an example of foreshadowing. The poem is impossible to miss and overshadows all that’s around it. The events in the rhyme reflect the events that will define the guests’ experiences on the island, which will become the biggest concern at the center of their thoughts for the rest of their lives.

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