Murder on the Orient Express: The Works of an American Household

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The Works of An American Household In Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie crafts a thrilling murder mystery that can be enjoyed by anyone as a light read; however, this classic novel goes much deeper than its surface image. Murder on the Orient Express is the story of a supposed group of strangers of all nationalities and classes brought together on one train on one night, but when a murder takes place, our renowned detective M. Poirot is left to wonder if this truly is a group of strangers or if this group could actually form a single household. Agatha Christie turns this thrilling mystery into rather an analysis of stereotypes, nationality, and class, and how these factors form the American household. The novel begins with an overview of the passengers surrounding M. Poirot and the director M. Bouc at lunchtime: “A big swarthy Italian was picking his teeth with gusto. Opposite him a spare neat Englishman had the expressionless disapproving face of the well-trained servant. Next to the Englishman was a big American in a loud suit” (27). However, following the murder of the mysterious M. Ratchett that same night, these racial comments quickly turn into stereotypical statements leading to assumptions and presumptions. Bouc first takes into consideration an American passenger: “There is a large American on the train…He chews the gum, which I believe is not done in good circles” (53). The Italian as well is found suspicious by Bouc for his nationality: “I say, my friend, that it is the big Italian. He comes from America—from Chicago—and remember an Italian’s weapon is the knife, and he stabs not once but several times” (130). Joining these two men suspected is the French conductor, the American male secretary and the English valet to Ratchett, an American matron and her Swedish nurse, a Russian princess and her German maid, a Hungarian Count and

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