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It is important to realise that flashbacks and disrupted narration are key tools of gothic writers, who use such narrative techniques as part of the overall unsettling feeling they wish to produce in their readers. Having a non-chronological narration forces the reader to jump back and forth between different time periods and is deliberately unsettling as we have to focus on which time period we are focussing on, and also we need to be especially aware of how foreshadowing is used to show how what is revealed to us in the future or the past relates to the present.
In this short story in particular, jumping back and forth highlights and emphasises the way that values in the Old South have changed, which is of course, one of the key themes of this story.
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