The Late Twentieth Century: 1960-2000 - Short Fiction

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Student Question

Identify an instance of foreshadowing in "Sandpiper" by Ahdaf Soueif.

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The speaker herself identifies an excellent example of foreshadowing as she looks back at her life and examines how she arrived in her present unhappy situation. Part of her "Africa story," as she calls it, was when she arrived in Egypt to join her husband and there was a problem with the plane, so it was sent on to try and land in Luxor rather than Cairo. The speaker and the other passengers fully expected to die as the plane attempted landing. Note what the protagonist experienced:

On the plane there was perfect silence as we dropped out of the sky. And then a terrible, agonised, protracted screeching of machinery as we hit the tarmac. And in that moment, not only my head, but all of me, my whole being, seemed to tilt into a blank, an empty radiance, but lucid.

This of course foreshadows the speaker's end, as she herself identifies. The "blank" that she experiences effectively foreshadows the "blank" that is her life now as she writes these words and dwells on the fringes of a society and a country that she can never be a part of and where she is trapped into remaining by her daughter.

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