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Foreshadowing is a literary technique that means to give a clue about what might be coming up in the story later. It is one of many tools available to authors to help create suspense - the reader wonders what the significance will be later in the text. Foreshadowing is also referred to as an "author wink" because its use is giving a hint to the reader of something yet to come. There are numerous examples of foreshadowing in literature. Two such examples are illustrated below:
In John Knowles' novel A Separate Peace, when Gene begins his recollection of the fateful summer and starts relating his feelings and experiences jumping from the tree, he narrates it in such a way that the reader knows that the tree will play a pivotal, tragic part of the story. The reader feels suspense each time the setting includes the tree, and when Finney does fall, the reader is shocked but prepared.
In Pet Sematary by Stephen King, when Jud warns Louis about the dangers of the road that lies between them, King is giving a clue - an "author wink" - that something bad involving the road will happen.
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