by Adam Huddleston
The next literary term in my blog series is: foreshadowing. I assume most people understand what it is, but it is important for writers to know how to use it well. For completeness sake, foreshadowing is defined as an indication or hint of future events. This can be blatant or very subtle. I would guess that most readers prefer a more sly approach to foreshadowing than being “hit over the head” with it.
Some examples of foreshadowing in movies and literature include:
- The farmhands, Professor Marvel, and Ms. Gulch in Kansas in “The Wizard of Oz” acting similar to their counterparts in Oz.
- In “The Empire Strikes Back”, Luke sees a vision of his face in Darth Vader’s mask, foreshadowing the revelation of their relationship.
- Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” states that he’d rather die than live without Juliet’s love.
- The witches in “Macbeth” are an evil omen of future events.
As a writer, it may help to work backwards when creating foreshadowing. Add little clues in earlier parts of your story, but be sure to have those hints blend in with the plot, otherwise the reader will see it ahead of time.