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A red herring is a literary device that serves as a misdirection, leading the characters in a story, and often the readers, to draw false conclusions. In "The Problem of Cell Thirteen," Van Dusen leaves a series of notes for prison wardens to find, leading them to believe that he is using the notes to communicate with someone outside the prison for the purpose of assisting his escape; however, the notes are merely a distraction from Van Dusen's real method of communicating with the outside world, a pipe through which messages and items can be passed via a strand of wire. Another example of red herring occurs when an inmate claims to have heard a ghostly voice describing the details of his crime, which he had not revealed to anyone. In actuality, Van Dusen is merely testing his the pipe's ability to transmit sound and never intended to communicate with the other inmate.
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