And Then There Were None And Then There Were None discussion


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Was she really guilty though?

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Revan Ive always wondered if it was just me, or if Emily Brent was actually not as guilty as she was made out to be?

All she did was evict a house worker who she was disappointed with.

Yes, what she did wasnt very nice, but hardly the death sentence it was made out to be.

I'll concede that overall she was a misguided and harsh person, but not evil nor responsible for Beatrice's death.


Stephen I can see your point. She is certainly unpleasant but that doesn't warrant a death sentence. But then the megalomaniac who's arranged these murders felt that he was wise enough to be judge, jury, and executioner and and he was looking to punish those that were outside the reach of the law.


Revan Yeah i dont think she warranted the death she received, even if she was unpleasant.


Jared Here's something I found: "[Emily] dismissed her maid, Beatrice Taylor, as punishment for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. As a result, Beatrice, who had also been rejected by her own family, drowned herself." True, there is no way she could have known that Beatrice would commit suicide, but the killer is meant to be insane. He doesn't care about the logic. In his opinion, if you cause someone's death, you deserve to die. (Which is flawed judgment, of course, but it makes for a good story.)


Dierdra Byrd I agree with Jared the other people on this point but I will add this.
It was, well at least how I took it anyway! That when she kicked her our pregnant there was very little chance of the woman living anyway I mean as I remember it would have been very hard to get another job or support her child on the way. Not to mention she would have been very ashamed. I took it as the killer took that as Emily Brent knowing she would not live. In a way sort of like you know someone is going to drown that you see drowning but you walk away.
Hope that makes sense and that was just my take on it.


Revan Dierdra wrote: "I agree with Jared the other people on this point but I will add this.
It was, well at least how I took it anyway! That when she kicked her our pregnant there was very little chance of the woman l..."


Yeah i considered that as well, but it just seemed to me that Beatrice's family was as much at fault for rejecting her as Emily was. Maybe even more so.


Mary Dierdra wrote: "I agree with Jared the other people on this point but I will add this.
It was, well at least how I took it anyway! That when she kicked her our pregnant there was very little chance of the woman l..."


though this isnt about Vera, i was a little confused. did she in a way let the boy swim so she could pretend to have tried to rescue him? and how did Hugo know what she had done?


Revan Mary wrote: "Dierdra wrote: "I agree with Jared the other people on this point but I will add this.
It was, well at least how I took it anyway! That when she kicked her our pregnant there was very little chanc..."


She knew the child was a weak swimmer and would drown if allowed to swim out. So she intentional gave him permission to swim too far and her 'rescue' attempt was merely a act to help her look innocent. Hugo knew she had done it on purpose because they had a conversation before it say how if the boy wasnt alive Hugo would of inherited the family fortune.

Vera just didnt relise how much Hugo liked his little brother.


Mary S.R. wrote: "Mary wrote: "Dierdra wrote: "I agree with Jared the other people on this point but I will add this.
It was, well at least how I took it anyway! That when she kicked her our pregnant there was very..."


Thank you soooooo much! i remember that but i never connected it thank you again!!!


Revan No problem! Im always forgetting little details in books with such a big cast.


message 11: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary hahaha me too! the beginning was hard to get through at first as so many people were thrown at us


Barbara Murray There must have been lots of pregnant maids fired from their jobs. Whether they received references or not is a separate story...


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

Mary Barbara wrote: "There must have been lots of pregnant maids fired from their jobs. Whether they received references or not is a separate story..."
hahahaa yes!


message 14: by Josh (new)

Josh From what I gathered she went to Miss Brent asking for help AFTER her parents had disowned her. (which explains why Beatrice confessed to her and why Emily Brent knew that her parents had kicked her out).

Miss Brent is my favorite character because I find her the most fascinating. She seemingly has no remorse yet her guilt manifested in Beatrice's ghost. In her head she did nothing wrong but her heart tells her otherwise.

But she (with seemingly no regrets) made a lower class and pregnant woman homeless and after her death (seemingly) felt nothing. Also I remember Brent saying that she was actually satisfied with her around the house. No practical reason for letting her go... simply because God says so and she felt she should carry out his job of making the sinners suffer (which also refers to the book's theme of final judgement and that your biggest mistake will be the death of you).

Like many of the other characters, it's her reasoning and attitude that makes her one of the ten rather than her actual actions.

Anyway, none of the 9 people are (by the law) guilty of anything. The judge punishes those who have acted as ruthless as murderers but haven't literally carried out the crime(nothing that law would consider murder).


Jared Also, a side note: It's sort of a bitter irony that in carrying out what he has come to know as "justice", the killer DIRECTLY causes the death of eight other people, unlike his victims, who INDIRECTLY caused the death of other people. He never actually ends up breaking his own rule, however, because of what he does to himself at the end of the novel.
>.>
And now I've successfully confused myself.


message 16: by Rose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rose I really wish you would have titled your message differently. "Was she really guilty?" makes it sound as if the murderer was female and as if it is a spoiler to the ending of the book.

As for your question, I think many people would find her guilty. I think your question is akin to asking if bullies are responsible for bullycide or if spreading a photograph of someone nude to their peers resulting in harrasment and lead to their suicide is guily of their death. In my opinion, the actions of Miss Brent was one factor of the woman's death, but would I hold her accountable? No.


Triet Lieu This post is completed for a school assignment. As much as I can remember about the characters and the plot of this dramatizing book, I both agree and disagree with the above statements that Emily Brent is innocent and should not have been killed by the deranged and maniacal Judge Lawrence Wargrave. One of her faults, unarguably the one that led to her demise, was her absolute adherence to a religious text commonly known as the Bible. She fired her servant, a woman named Beatrice Taylor, who was pregnant out of wedlock, an act of immorality forbid by Emily’s lover, the Bible. This woman subsequently committed suicide and this death justified Judge Wargrave’s revenge. Now, previous posters mention that Emily could not have predicted that her servant would have given up on life and taken Emily down with her and I respect such an opinion. I also imagine that many people would not find themselves at fault for firing an employee who infringed on her contract, which I believed Beatrice did because she would have known that Emily strictly conform to the Bible. No in one case, Emily was never at fault because she did not have any discriminating antagonism against Beatrice besides the pregnancy outside of wedlock. However, the mean by which Judge Wargrave found fault was that Emily was never remorseful of her actions. At the mansion, while reading a book, Emily was smug that she never committed any sin and her arrogance may have been the topping point that led to her death.


message 18: by amber (last edited Jul 20, 2013 03:32PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

amber I absolutely don't believe Miss Brent was a killer unlike the rest of them who absolutely were. I'm not so sure that Miss Brent could have let the young woman keep working for her anyway. I tend to think that society would not have let her keep an unwed mother working for her. It just wasn't done.

I actually don't think her death had to do with what she did or how she felt about it. I think it was about the judge's history. I think because of his friends' daughter killing herself after getting hooked on drugs all he thought about was another young woman dead by her own hand and that someone had to pay for it.


Revan Amber thats a great point about the judges friends daughter. Never occured to me before!


amber Thank you! :)
I might have been reading to much into it of course, but when I read that part of the confession I thought "that explains why he was so upset by Miss Brent's actions".


Randee Baty I don't think she was responsible for Beatrice's death. I think she was responsible for being heartless, self-righteous, cold and unfeeling for her fellow human beings but that would cover quite a few people. However, since Wargrave was making his own rules, he could fulfill them however he pleased. She felt guilty to him so she died. I doubt very many people would have been sorry to see her go.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't think she was really guilty for evicting the maid. OK, she (the maid) committed suicide later, but how could Mrs Brent know how Beatrice would react? With this sense, we must not dismiss our maids/ servants, because they might kill themselves. Nah.


message 23: by L~ (new) - rated it 3 stars

L~ Josh wrote: "From what I gathered she went to Miss Brent asking for help AFTER her parents had disowned her. (which explains why Beatrice confessed to her and why Emily Brent knew that her parents had kicked he..."

I agree with your point, Josh. The 9 were chosen not for their legal accountability, but their moral accountability. Within the scope of the Judge’s criteria, Miss Brent was just as morally accountable for the maid’s welfare and her suicide given the circumstances of their relationship and the maid’s situation.

Should Miss Brent have been able to foresee the negative outcome of the situation? Yes. If the maid’s family had already disowned her, Miss Brent would be able to foresee a very negative outcome for this young maid who was alone, pregnant, without a job, and stigmatized for being unwed.

This was very similar to the moral crime of Detective Blore. Should he have foreseen the negative outcome of sending an innocent man to jail? Yes.

Both Brent and Blore may not have imagined death would be the outcome, but they both knew the outcome of their actions would be negative.

While the Judge was insane in his behaviors, it does make you think about how quickly some people act without a thought to the outcome or their moral responsibility to one another.


Revan I like your point a lot there L. But im not sure if i agree. Blore's initial crime was the sending of an innocent man to jail, which is a disgraceful crime, whereas Miss Brent's initial sin was sacking an employee. I agree that she must of know that Beatrice would take it hard, but i would say she isn't nearly as accountable as Blore or any of the others.


Randee Baty It is interesting that you bring up about the maid's lover and parents. I hadn't thought about that before. They definitely should have been held equally responsible for her death. At least the lover if not the parents.


Olivia I believe that she was just as culpable for the death of Beatrice as Beatrice's parents and the man who got her pregnant are.

Her complete lack of sympathy for the poor woman shows that she is not a true Christian as the Bible teaches kindness, understanding and charity as well as the number or morals and ideals. Emily Brent, like so many hypocrites, chose to adhere to just one part of the Bible.

Emily Brent's religious mania is just as dangerous and as powerful as the Judge's sociopathology. Furthermoe, I feel it is worse because of her hypocracy as noted above. The Judge was a nutter but he adhered completely to the laws that he held aloft.


message 27: by Andrea (last edited Sep 30, 2013 10:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Andrea That part of the book never sat right with me. Emily Brent was the employer, not the parent, friend, or lover. It wasn't her responsibility to shelter her employee from the reality of her own choices. So many other people were more responsible for Beatrice's actions, with the primary person being the girl herself (probably followed by the callous lover.)If Brent had been her parent or if the pregnancy was the result of a rape, I could see Brent being more culpable.

It would only take a few minutes to understand what kind of person Emily Brent was and that she wouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior in an employee. Ever. Beatrice made the decision to have the affair anyway. When the girl decided to take her life Emily Brent was probably the last person on her mind. More likely, she was thinking about how her parents and lover turned her aside, not her employer.

Perhaps Emily Brent could have been more kind. An encouraging word during that situation could have helped her. Perhaps Brent could have directed her to one of those homes where they take in unwed mothers and then find adoptive families for the child.

On the other hand, Beatrice could have found the same groups or charities on her own. She could have even consulted one of those dubious 'problem fixing' practitioners who offered everything from medicines that claimed to end pregnancies to actual abortions. Difficult, heartbreaking, possibly illegal, and likely dangerous though some of these options were, there were options available. She didn't have to kill herself.

I also don't think Brent lacked human kindness. She tried to be courteous and helpful to Mrs. Rogers when she fainted. During that time, a lady like that probably would have been heavily involved with helping sick people at the local hospital or volunteering at soup kitchens. She simply had a very strict personal set of morals that had be ingrained within her and she couldn't see beyond. Even if she had regretted her decision to fire the girl, her morals wouldn't have let her admit it.

In every other case the person was guilty of a crime, just one that couldn't be proved. Vera knew that the child would die swimming. She maliciously planned his death with full understanding. Blore lied under oath and it resulted in someone's death. The perjury was a willful crime. The Rogers' actively withheld the medicine from their charge causing her death. The first victim (I can't remember his name) mowed down two(2!)young people (but according to U.N. Owen, he was the least culpable of all!) The others were also active participants in their crimes. Their actions, baring any other circumstances, caused the deaths of completely innocent people. And, other than the first victim, they all had selfish motives for the crimes. That wasn't true in Brent's case. Other people were directly and much more closely involved and Brent lacked malice or motive.

Also, it's hard to know what happened and what was said between Brent and Beatrice before and after the girl got pregnant. She could have encouraged her to find a charity. She could have even given her extra money or food. We don't know. Her story was the one least commented on. Was moral behavior a stipulation of the job, like not stealing? Would Wargrave had considered it murder if Beatrice killed herself after Brent sacked her for stealing the silverware or even just constantly burning the toast? How public and long was the affair? What caused even her parents to disown her? Did she tell Brent she regretted what happened? What kind of emotional health did Beatrice exhibit before the pregnancy? Was she rebellious, depressed, lonely? The way it happened and what was said at the time have a huge bearing on Brent's guilt.

I agree with some of the above comments that mentioned the suicide of Wargrave's friend's daughter. He saw the suicide as the result of someone hooking her on drugs and not as the result of her own choices. This is similar to the case with Brent. It's interesting that his seeing young women as not responsible for their own choices did not translate into sympathy for Vera who could, with some validity, be said to have been desperately trying to please Hugo with her actions.


Randee Baty Wargrave's sense of justice seems to be as black and white as Miss Brent's morality. In his world, people seem to be guilty or not guilty, there are no shades of culpability as obviously there should have been with Beatrice. You would think that Wargrave should have been able to relate to Miss Brent's actions in some way.


message 29: by Anny (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anny I completely agree with you. Maybe Wargrave thinks it's still her fault since she drove Beatrice to suicide, although indirectly. However if I was Wargrave, I wouldn't put Ms Brent as my victim (in any sense I don't mean to kill lol).


message 30: by Anneke (new)

Anneke I am doing a mock-case on this for school. I am lawyer on Emily Brent's side of the case. Many people would argue that it is illegal to fire a woman because she is pregnant, but this book was set in the 1930's, where no law was passed to protect the poor girl. There also was not law passed to protect employees against religious beliefs. (Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964- Pregnancy discrimination acts, and the religious freedom restoration acts). As long as she fired the girl, which gives up the need to protect her, and the suicide is committed out of her care, is she really to be held responsible?

Also, by christian belief, suicide is considered a unforgivable sin... Emily, with her fir christian beliefs, would not have wanted the girl to commit suicide for a sin that could be repented.

Finally, do people have to help someone in need, even if they are not related to them? Is it illegal to not help a homeless person because they are in need of help? Yes, she could have been nicer, and possibly prevented the suicide, but is she held accountable for a girl who merely worked for her?

Okay one more... Her parents raised her "well. " They seemingly exploded when she announced being pregnant and kicked her out. This teaches her there is only black and white, no grey. Shen her life was falling apart, of course she would only see black and white. Two very different passes. she obviously wouldn't have seen that she could go and get help. This kind of put the blame on the parents. She must have been under the age of 18, and therefore should have been accepted and sheltered by the parents, even if they were angry and upset... correct?


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