Literary devices and techniques are used by authors to develop the plot of their stories. Some common devices include flashback and foreshadowing.
Flashback is a technique used by authors to show readers something that happened before the time frame of the poem or story. The author jumps back in time to tell about something that happened earlier.
Interrupts the current action of the story to show a scene from the past Includes memories, dreams, stories of the past told by characters, or even an interruption by the author.
The purpose of the flashback is simple: it is a technique that bridges time, place and action to reveal information about the character, or move the story forward. Many times, a writer throws a flashback into the story because he or she doesn't know how to move the story forward any other way
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I oil my hair and brush it soft. Then, with the brush in my lap, I gather the hair in my hands Pull the strands smooth and tight, And weave three sections into a fat shiny braid That hangs straight down my back. I remember Mama teaching me to plait my hair One Saturday afternoon when chores were done. My fingers were stubby and short. I could barely hold three strands at once, And my braids would fray apart No sooner than I’d finished them. Mama said, “Just takes practice, is all.” Now my hands work swiftly, doing easy What was once so hard to do.
The flashback in the poem is when the narrator remembers one Saturday when she was young. She remembers her mom teaching her to braid her hair. The flashback contributes to the poem because it shows how the narrator feels good about her past and how she feels towards her mother. It also shows her growth of time.
Foreshadowing suggests events that have yet to occur in a work of literature. Writers use foreshadowing to build their readers expectations and create suspense. Foreshadowing may also come from the mood that an author creates.
The author provides clues or hints as to what is going to happen later in the story. It’s like the music in a scary movie when we know that something bad is about to happen.
1. A weapon found in a drawer might foreshadow a future crime in the story. 2. That morning on her way to work, Mary Ann took a gun from a cabinet in the garage, loaded it, and thrust it into her coat pocket. What do you think the gun in the second example foreshadows?
The second example could foreshadow Mary Ann doing something with the gun, such as robbing a bank, or attacking someone at her work.
“The roads are slick and dark on the path to Duke’s village. People fear the drive, because so many accidents have occurred over the years, and individuals go missing biweekly. Tonight, Taylor will venture into the unknown darkness alone.” What do you think the author is foreshadowing?
The author may be foreshadowing that Taylor is going to go missing or that he may discover why so many people go missing.
A character, an action, a setting, or an object representing something else Most often, the symbol in a story is an object that represents its owner’s character or situation, or both. For example, a secluded, near-empty apartment might represent the loneliness and emotional emptiness of the person living there.
The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling could be seen as containing a lot of symbolism. For example, the use of a snake to represent evil. It is no coincidence that the symbol of Slytherin House is a serpent.
In William Blake's poem "The Lamb," the speaker tells the lamb that the force that made him or her is also called a lamb: Little lamb, who made thee? Little lamb, I'll tell thee, Little lamb, I'll tell thee! He is called by thy name, For he calls himself a lamb; The symbol of the lamb (representing innocence and purity) in the above lines relates to the symbolism of the lamb in Christianity, where Christ is referred to as The Lamb of God.