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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

Reading Beyond the Blood: How Agatha Christie’s Works Reflect and Shape our Conceptions of British attitudes of Otherness, Colonialism, and Imperialism Within the Imaginative Murder Mysteries

Agatha Christie, like Jane Austen and John Steinbeck, successfully captured a time long past in her work. When one reads her work in the genre of mystery and detective fiction, one glimpses the events and attitudes of war, assumptions about imperialism and foreigners, day-to-day life of English folk in every walk of life, as well as the current impressions of psychology. My thesis looks across the body of Christie’s works through historical contexts and the lenses of imperialism and colonialism to argue that unlike Austen and Steinbeck, Christie places these ideas in the backgrounds of her stories, displaying these realist elements behind the imagination and fantasy of the murder mysteries. I contend that through character attitudes, side conversations, and possible motives, the reader glimpses these assumptions in the background of the plot. By reading her texts, the reader gains access to this historical snapshot and becomes aware of the attitudes (whether realistic or exaggerated) associated with these assumptions. My project explores the embodiment of these assumptions in multiple primary texts, illustrating both their impacts on the stories and the implications they make about Christie’s contemporary world, as well as those who inhabit it.

Presenter: Jacqueline Hebert (SUNY Fredonia) -- hebert@fredonia.edu
Topic: English - Panel
Location: 216 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)