In chapter 5 of Medicine River, in the counterpoint storyline about Rose and Erleen, the narrator provides foreshadowing. Identify the foreshadowing and explain what is foreshadowed.

The storyline in chapter 5 about Rose and Erleen foreshadows Erleen’s legal problems. Rose’s refusal of her friend’s gifts suggests that Erleen may not have obtained them honestly.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Foreshadowing is a literary device by which the author provides information that gives clues about a development later in the text. This information may constitute a small part of a single, larger subject or it may be an analogous situation. Authors sometimes use symbols in foreshadowing.

Chapter 5 of Medicine River includes a number of interactions between Will’s mother, Rose, and her friend Erleen. Initially, Will views Erleen’s offering Rose gifts as gestures of kindness and generosity, and he makes a comment about Erleen’s supposedly being rich. He fails to understand why his mother refuses the proffered gifts. It later develops that Erleen has been shoplifting. When she gets caught, the storekeeper calls the police.

Rose, unlike her son, was suspicious about how Erleen had obtained the items. On one occasion, Erleen offered her some nylon stockings, which even Will knew were expensive. Rose declined the gift and told Will that Erleen was poor like them. A second incident involves Erleen bringing over an expensive brand of cookies. Rose, with better knowledge than her son of Erleen’s financial situation, knows that her friend cannot afford to purchase such items. While she values Erleen’s friendship, she is also shown as careful about any possible legal entanglement.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial