Meave's Reviews > After the Funeral

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
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's review
Aug 06, 2010

it was ok
Read on August 06, 2010

It was a good story with a clever twist, but I had to dock it a star because of the icky, icky racism. I mean there was only one expression, but she uses it so many times and this was published in 1953, and I don't know about the history of civil rights in the U.K., and British racism is different from racism in the U.S., BUT STILL. It's so gross! I can't stand it.

Similarly, Poirot plays the "all the British are suspicious of and hostile toward foreigners" card in basically every novel, and it really reflects poorly on the British. As I've said before, we're all products of our place and time, BUT: despite my own fear of Other, etc., whenever I've met actual people from other countries, I've consistently tried to be nice to them, and help them to understand the conversation if their English isn't good, and not made fun of them RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES. You know? Treated them like every other human person who deserves respect. And this was before I lived and traveled in other countries where I didn't speak the language well or at all. And people there were, on the whole, equally considerate of me and my language limitations. Because that's what you do! That's how humans have to interact with each other.

I imagine that, as a British person living at the end of the Great Big Empire, you might not care so much for "foreigners;" half the entire world "belonged" to your country, and spoke English (under duress), and you could do whatever you wanted and go wherever you wanted and everyone sort of kowtowed to you--maybe literally, even. So foreigners coming to your actual country should speak your language. We see that now, here in the U.S., and it's still a nasty, ugly attitude. But I know lots of people, monoglots and polyglots alike, who don't hold such inherently racist ideas, and I don't understand why FUCKING EVERY CHARACTER who encounters Poirot, at least initially, treats him with that racist disdain. Were any English people living between 1920 and at least 1953 unconvinced of their inherent superiority, and unafraid to treat every non-English person like a lesser being? It is incredibly difficult for me to believe.

So, what, Aggie, did you hate your fellow citizens so much, that you only chose to portray chauvinists? Was this your attitude, too? Or was this the common attitude of your many decades, and you constantly revisited it because "you knew people" and it made your novels realer?

REGARDLESS: I hate it, hate it, hate it.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Nan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nan really? what racism? can u tell me please?

message 2: by Urooj (new) - added it

Urooj Janjua Which racist line are you talking about?

Snigdha I can understand what you mean. Funny I never paid attention to it before! Never thought of it as being something racist.

Victor Insularity & racism is not same .. All races feel others to be odd in someway or other because of culture & language differences. Maybe in Christie books there are open references to foreigners & jewish people...but IMHO, thats because that was the way it was then. People knew less of the world in general & felt odd when in contact with different races. But calling it racism is going a bit too far .

Anirudh Emm..What racism? They didn't like him because they thought he was a french I think. It's because of his Nationality not his race.. mostly her books will have suspicion about foreigners.

Uremawife Nowdave I think the racism she's alluding to in the book is the phrase one of the characters George uses "nigger in the woodpile". Unfortunately inherent racism

Missy If you wanted a modern book with a modern way of thinking. You should have read a modern book.

Uremawife Nowdave Missy, It was a Modern book.

Martha its just a book and I find your language very offensive. you seem so holier than thou and your use of vulgar words is just as bad as the racism you claim is in the book.

message 10: by Anna (new)

Anna Maybe you should just watch CNN for the rest of your life and not read books, especially books written in a different time period and different culture than your own. Also, take into consideration the class differences in this book and Christie's own life. Or you could just write your own books set in this apparent Utopian society that you've built up in your head and then read them. Christie tended to write realism, not idealism.

Nicola Ok, well you're entitled to your opinion of course but I was rather hoping for a review of the actual book.

Nicola No Uremawife it wasn't a modern book. It was first published in 1920. What part of that is modern? It's close on a hundred years ago.

message 13: by Sean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sean Homrig I know this post is VERY old, but some of the racism against Poirot is meant to offset the way he effectively manipulates the suspects, makes them underestimate him and tell him things, and then deduce the identity of the murderer. I think it adds to the endearing quality of Poirot. (See also: the television series "Columbo", although that's a class issue as opposed to a race issue.) As for the "n...gger" in the woodpile comment, I think Christie should have known better. American publishers had already started reprinting her 1945 book "Ten Little N..ggers" as "Ten Little Indians", and there was some considerable backlash when the play was debuted.

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