Study Guide

And Then There Were None What's Up With the Title?

By Agatha Christie

What's Up With the Title?

The title of And Then There Were None is pretty straightforward: it’s the last line of the nursery rhyme that Wargrave uses as a handbook for his crime:

One little soldier boy left all alone;
He went and hanged himself

And then there were None. 

First of all, the rhyme is super creepy, and that’s even before we get to the final (and we mean final) line. The fact that the title is And Then There Were None rather than another line from the nursery rhyme also tells us right off the bat that chances of survivors are very, very low.

The Book Formerly Known As…

Initially, the book was released under the title Ten Little N*****s. When people decided that was maybe a little racist—you know, just a little—the title was changed to… Ten Little Indians. Better? Well, it worked for a while. But times, they keep on a-changin’, and eventually Christie’s estate settled on And Then There Were None.

Just so you know, the nursery rhyme went through the same changes. In And Then There Were None, we deal with little soldier boys, but they started off as something quite different indeed.