What are examples of Foreshadowing in the book, "The Machine that Won the War?"

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Machine that Won the War" starts out straightforward enough.  There was a war.  A big computer analyzed data and spit out tactics.  The war was won.  The people rejoice.  There is no reason to doubt that anything other than a big powerful computer winning a war happened.  That is until Jablonski says this line:

"What's that to me? Let Multivac be the machine that won the war, if it pleases them."

Wait, what? Of course Multivac won the war.  That's what the first few pages were about. But Jablonski's comment foreshadows to the reader that all might not be as it appears concerning Multivac.  

Right after his line, the story drops a quite conspiratorial line.  

"Henderson looked at the other two out of the corners of his eyes."

That's spy stuff right there.  Why is Henderson not making eye contact?  He's looking, but not looking, because he knows what Jablonski is talking about.  Henderson knows that Multivac does not deserve the credit that it is being given.  The final big peace of foreshadowing is the following line:

". . .he was conscious only of his weight of guilt."

The reader again is given a big hint that all is not as it seems.  Why would Henderson have to feel guilty about anything.  The computer won the war.  He didn't break the machine and cause the war to be lost.  What could he possibly feel guilty about?  

Then all of the details spill out of each man, and the reader quickly learns that each of the three men were circumventing Multivac with their own intuition, because each man knew that Multivac was not as dependable as the world thought.  

Read the study guide:
The Machine That Won the War

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