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What is the meaning of 'foreshadowing?'

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uziel | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 12, 2009 at 5:58 PM via web

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What is the meaning of 'foreshadowing?'

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 6:13 PM (Answer #1)

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As a literary term, foreshadowing means giving the reader a hint of what is to come through the setting, the characters' words or actions, or eventually a symbol.  Although not necessarily so, it usually implies a warning of something negative (or even disasterous) about to happen through clues interwoven into descriptive passages or the story line itself.

Examples of the above would be the house crumbling into ruins in Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," Madame Loisel's character profile as the frustrated housewife in "The Necklace," or the rigid dachshund in front of the cozy fire in Roald Dahl's "The Landlady."  Although the ending still comes as a surprise, the reader anticipates trouble ahead.

 

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 6:23 PM (Answer #2)

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Foreshadowing is a technique or device used in fiction,drama or poetry to create tension and suspense by presaging the later (often tragic) events that are to come. The reader may discern clues of what the storyline is going to be.An example would be in 'The Odour of Chrysanthememus' short story by English author D.H. Lawrence. He opens the short story with a detailed description of the local countryside and railway line - and the cottage where the family in the story lives. He is sure to include in the introduction a description of the flowers - and, importantly their condition. They are not bold and jaunty and garishly colorful,full of life. They have the aura of death about them - fading,brown,drooping. Later in the story when the drunkard husband is killed in a mine accident, his body is 'laid out' in the front parlor which has the scent of chrysanthemums- and a vase of chrysanthemums is knocked over.The wife spends her time quickly picking it up and putting the room back to rights instead of grieving.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted December 13, 2009 at 2:12 AM (Answer #3)

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In plain English, foreshadowing is when a writer presents a hint or preview of something that will later be revealed in the story.  It may be something negative or positive.  It is a literary device that takes the reader into the story and makes the story more intriguing.  It is used in TV shows, plays, Movies, and books.

Examples of foreshadowing include:

In the movie "Signs" by Night Shalaman, he uses foreshadowing such as the preachers wife stating on her last breath "Swing Wide."   The viewer later learns that this was stated because to save the woman's child in the end of the story, the ex-baseball player will find redemption from his flaws as a baseball player by killing the alien. 

Foreshadowing is a type of prophesy that will be exposed at a later time.  Using the literary device of foreshadowing adds depth to the story, thereby, making it more effective.

 

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 13, 2009 at 3:17 AM (Answer #4)

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That is an important question. Foreshadowing is a literary device that allows an omniscient narrator or author to give a preview of the future. It is a hint for the reader to catch. Sometimes these foreshadows are very subtle and can only be seen after the book or movie is viewed a second or even third time. However, you must also keep in mind the misdirection that can take place. A foreshadow does not have to be accurate. It is possible that foreshadows can lead a reader to anticipate something, which will never come. In this way, the author can create a surprise.

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Yojana_Thapa | Student , Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 30, 2014 at 4:13 PM (Answer #5)

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Foreshadowing is when the author gives the reader a hint of the conflict that will occur later on in the story.

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aarontaylor50 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:10 AM (Answer #6)

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Foreshadowing is a literary device used by writers to provide a hint as to what will occur later in the story. It is often not obvious to the responder upon first reading that foreshadowing has occurred. This is why it is so much easier to recognise where it is used when completing a second, and more detailed, reading or viewing of a text.

Some people also think that foreshadowing is giving a false idea about what will occur in the story. However, this is a device which we call a "red herring". This is a term often cited in crime fiction where a detective follows a series of clues that actually lead them down a false trail and does not bring them to a solution.

Foreshadowing does hint at what will actually happen; just in a sly and covert way, in most cases.

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