In terms of Daphne duMaurier's story "The Birds," I would look at the massing gulls riding the waves in two ways.
On a simple level, as the bird mass upon the rising waves, the reader is given the sense of an impending natural disaster, such as a tsunami or tidal wave, which gains strength before crashing down upon coastal lands, causing widespread devastation. The single image of the birds gathered on the wave provide an image, or impression, of imminent disaster, in the form of foreshadowing.
However, on a deeper level, what duMaurier may have tapped into, which makes her story more horrific, and her foreshadowing more...
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