Foreshadowing

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In this Arthur Rackham illustration, the Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried of a curse, foreshadowing the disasters of Götterdämmerung.

Foreshadowing or guessing ahead is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come.[1] It is used to avoid disappointment. It is also sometimes used to arouse the reader.[2][3]

A hint that is designed to mislead the audience is referred to as a red herring. A similar device is the flashforward (also known as prolepsis). However, foreshadowing only hints at a possible outcome within the confinement of a narrative. A flashforward is a scene that takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television, and other media.[4][5] Foreshadowing is sometimes employed through characters explicitly predicting the future.[6]

By analogy to foreshadowing, the literary critic Gary Morson described its opposite, sideshadowing.[7] Found notably in the epic novels of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, it is the practice of including scenes that turn out to have no relevance to the plot. This, according to Morson, increases the verisimilitude of the fiction because the audience knows that in real life, unlike in novels, most events are in fact inconsequential. This "sense of structurelessness" invites the audience to "interpret and question the events that actually do come to pass".[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mogensen (2009). Along Literary Lines. Gyldendal. p. 55. ISBN 8702056178. 
  2. ^ Author's Craft - "Narrative Elements - Foreshadowing" Retrieved 2013-07-18
  3. ^ Nicola Onyett (30 November 2012). Philip Allan Literature Guide (for A-Level): A Streetcar Named Desire. Hodder Education. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4441-5376-7. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Ulrike Spierling; Nicolas Szilas (3 December 2008). Interactive Storytelling: First Joint International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2008 Erfurt, Germany, November 26-29, 2008, Proceedings. Springer. p. 156. ISBN 978-3-540-89424-7. 
  5. ^ flash-forward - definition of flash-forward by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Philip Martin, The Writer's Guide to Fantasy Literature: From Dragon's Lair to Hero's Quest, p 146, ISBN 0-87116-195-8
  7. ^ Morson, Gary Saul (Autumn 1998). "Sideshadowing and Tempics". New Literary History 29 (4): 599–624. 
  8. ^ Calixto, Joshua (3 August 2015). "LET’S TALK ABOUT ROSA VAR ATTRE, THE IMPOSSIBLE ROMANCE OF THE WITCHER 3". Kill Screen. Retrieved 3 August 2015.