A Bit on Literary Devices

Definition of Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is a literary device in which a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.

Foreshadowing often appears at the beginning of a story or a chapter and helps the reader develop expectations about the coming events in a story. There are various ways of creating a foreshadowing. A writer may use dialogues of characters to hint at what may occur in future. In addition, any event or action in the story may throw a hint to the readers about future events or action. Even a title of a work or a chapter title can act as a clue that suggests what is going to happen. Foreshadowing in fiction creates an atmosphere of suspense in a story so that the readers are interested to know more.


Function of Foreshadowing

Generally, the function of foreshadowing is to build anticipation in the minds of readers about what might happen next and thus adding dramatic tension to a story. It is deliberately employed to create suspense in mystery novels, usually by giving false clues or “red herrings” to distract readers.

Moreover, foreshadowing can make extraordinary and bizarre events appear credible as the events are predicted beforehand, so that readers are mentally prepared for them.


 Example of foreshadowing:

In John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men”, George killing Candy’s dog foreshadows Candy killing Lennie because Candy is identical to George and Lennie to the dog. Even the nature of the death of the dog was the same as Lennie’s as both were shot in the back of the head. Candy tells George, “I ought to of shot that dog myself”. He chooses to kill Lennie himself in order to save him from being killed by a stranger.


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