"And Then There Were None" Essay, can I get feedback please

Question: Analyse how a conflict reinforced your understanding of human nature.

Self-Preservation is our human nature and natural instinct in a desperate situation. This is shown through the novel, ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Cristie. The novel showcases 10 characters who were invited to an island by a mysterious person. Upon arriving, they found out that each one of them has all committed crimes. With that knowledge, suspects have risen towards who could be the murderer between them, while one by one they get murdered according to a childhood poem. Human nature is the general actions within humankind upon a situation. In the novel, the conflict between all the guests and U.N Owen reinforced the understanding of human nature. Agatha Cristie uses language features such as dialogue and symbolism to get an understanding of human nature through to the reader.

Agatha Cristie made the characters form allies to send out the understanding that making allies is in our human nature to survive in a life-or-death situation. The novel uses the theme ‘They were five enemies linked together by a mutual instinct of self-preservation’ to convey how although they are enemies, they instinctively became allies to have someone they can trust and someone they cannot suspect. The allies were Dr. Armstrong, Mr. Lombard and Mr. Blore. The second alliance was between Vera and Lombard with the third being Wargrave and Armstrong. The first alliance were formed to find U.N Owen and take him down. Blore was in the group as he was an ex-detective, he is experienced in pointing out those who are being suspicious. Armstrong is a doctor and is in charge of diagnosing deaths, he is always very close to the dead bodies which allows him to say if anything is wrong; Lombard was in the group as he was the sneakiest and most likely the murderer, which the other two members in the alliance hoped to be in his good side. The second alliance was formed due to the trust that Vera had towards Lombard, they were able to have a conversation about who could be the murderer. The last alliance was Wargrave and Armstrong. They both came up with a plan to fake death so there was a person, behind the scenes of the murder, watching everyone’s moves and the murderer. What Armstrong didn’t know was that he got played by Wargrave and it cost him his life.

Before being allies, they were enemies, this was because, after the first death, they have no one to suspect but each other, just as Wargrave had said ‘It is our task to suspect each and every one amongst us’. The allies were a form of trust that was used to ensure that within the alliance, they will stick together and there would be less to suspect from the group. An alliance was used as self-preservation also. This is because being in alliance enables the rising suspicion towards others. The allied people are protected by being suspected through the people who can vouch for them. The conflict between the guests and U.N Owen made them instinctively make allies with one another. Human nature is exhibited in this way because it showed that in a life-and-death situation, it is our nature to gravitate towards making allies so we wouldn’t be alone or suspected.

Upon a heated and challenging situation, psychological effects begin to happen to those guilty. On the island, every death is according to a childhood poem ‘ten little soldier boys’ they symbolise a trigger as death after death, those who are the most guilty and have the most trauma are triggered by their crimes and began to have a psychological effect happening towards them, leading them to become crazy and hysterical. The murders had a massive impact towards Vera Claythorne. Vera was responsible for the death towards Cyril, Hugo’s (Vera’s ex-lover) nephew. After every death, she became more hysterical, with one being Mr Rogers’s death. Vera started to exclaim ‘It’s sane enough what I’m asking. Bees, hives bees!’, this is because the next verse in the poem referred to a little soldier being stung by a bee. Vera also started to hallucinate about Hugo being right beside her.

Vera’s reaction to the murders helps with the understanding of human nature. The crimes that she committed seemed like she was very guilty because of her reactions to the deaths that were occurring on the island. It is human nature that Vera would start remembering her crimes and start to hallucinate and be hysterical. This is because of the psychological aspect of the situation. Our brain is functioned to forget things that we want to forget because they may be traumatic however, such objects or situations can trigger the memory. For Vera, the continuous deaths happening on the island are triggering her guilt of being responsible for Cyril’s death causing her to hallucinate and start being hysterical. Vera’s behaviour towards the reaction set her self-preservation. Once she became hysterical and started hallucinating, others could see how affected she really is by the murders, making there to be no suspicions towards her, which led to her being the last little soldier boy.

The secrets that each guest had, had turned against them. Within the novel, each of them and each ally kept secrets from one another. This is the truth of their crimes and the plans that people had made for each other. However ‘Thy sin will find thee out,’ -Wargrave, which means that the secrets that each of them holds will at one point be revealed. The biggest secret that was made was the plan between Armstrong and Wargrave. It was a secret that was only between them, however, it did no one any good as in the end, Armstrong ended up dead. Which shows how the secrets that the alliance kept turned against Armstrong. The way Wargrave murdered Armstrong was self-preservation. He played Armstrong so no one could raise suspicion on him and backstabbed Armstrong so Wargrave can be the last one standing.

The secrets of their own crimes only led to another problem on which accusation was true. When each of them didn’t stand up for what they have committed on the first days, suspicions rose on which accusation was real instead of focusing on the real problem, who was the murderer on the island? This led to mixed emotions and broken trust towards one another. However, when questioned by Wargrave if the accusations were true those who replied strengthened trust towards others on the island, and those who did not reply made people raise suspicion. Wargrave was the last one standing at the end of it all. He stood up for what he committed, which helps lead away any suspicion towards him. Wargrave used this for self-preservation. Wargrave stood up for his crimes so no one would suspect him, which led him to be the true last man standing, and the success of his murder plan.

Throughout the novel, it engages on how Self-preservation is our human nature and natural instinct in a desperate situation. This is summarized through the conflict between all the guests and U.N Owen. Human nature is seen in the guests and how they acted towards the murders by U.N Owen. To conclude, it is human nature and survival instinct to make sure that we are safe.

Kia ora Yawiz - great to see you back using Studyit this year!

Intro is quite clear and addresses the question well.

As the essay proceeds - you have a lot of plot - not all of which is directly relevant to your question. My first piece of advice would be to go through and take out what is not relevant to your argument. A good tip is to “say a lot about a little” - so have some really well chosen quotes and techniques and then carefully analyze how each part establishes or develops the conflict/showcases something about human nature.

Overall I would say

  • More specific evidence - quotes and techniques
  • More on conflict - unpack it more - you come back to human nature quite well, but you are not being explicit about how the conflict is established, developed and concluded.
  • Continue to refer to the author - you do this at start but it drops off near the end. “Christie develops this effectively” “Here Christie highlights”.

I would suggest going through and rewriting this essay with those in mind and then resubmitting here to see what a difference it makes :slight_smile:

Well done - clearly a great understanding of the text!

Try to keep your topic sentences so that they include the author and some key words from the question - your first paragraph does this well but by your third paragraph, your topic sentence is summarising the plot - which is must less effective for the marker to follow.