The fusion of invariant figure-types as block elements in Agatha Christie’s works
Since detective fiction conventions have a strong influence on mystery writing in general, it is appropriate to examine the ploys used in the creation of whodunits that form the structures that uphold the central mysteries of the stories. Combining the concept of invariant figure-types and the theory of block elements, we can examine one of these ploys in the works of Agatha Christie, the most recognized Golden Age detective story writer whose writing strategies have greatly influenced our overall understanding of the genre’s conventions. The main goal of this BA thesis is to analyse Christie’s works to understand how the fusion of invariant figure-types is used to create block elements that stop the readers from immediately predicting the ending of the stories. The literature review section of this thesis gives an overview on the conventionality of detective stories, Christie’s adhesion to these standards and also her deviations and innovations. The terms of invariant figure-types and block elements are introduced to form the theoretical background to the analysis. The empirical study section examines three of Christie’s novels – Murder Is Easy, The Murder at the Vicarage and Death in the Clouds – with special attention on the characters of the novels and the roles they play in the mysteries, particularly the characters of the culprits, to identify the block elements created by the fusion of invariant figure-types.
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