Flashback Examples in Literature | Have students identify flashbacks in literature!
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
The narration begins many years in the future, with Scout and Jem discussing who was at fault for breaking his arm many years ago. That discussion leads the reader into the past, when Scout was almost 7 years old and Jem was about 10.
A SEPARATE PEACE
CATCHER IN THE RYE
The novel starts with Holden Caulfield telling his story from a rest home in California. The events flash back to the previous winter around Christmastime when he had a mental breakdown.
THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN
Pt. Name: Holden Caulfield Dx: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD
The Odyssey begins in in medias res. Odysseus has valiantly fought in and helped win the Trojan War, and has had many adventures on his way home. He is telling the story to King Alcinous in return for ships to bring him back to Ithaca. The second half of the poem deals with what has happened to Odysseus' home and wife while he has been gone, and is told in the present.
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED
The novel begins with Gene Forrester returning to his high school, the Devon School, 15 years after he graduated. He is there to visit 2 specific sites: a tree and a set of marble stairs. These two places are crucial moments in later events, which reveal their importance.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven follows Eddie's story, from the moments leading up to his death to his journey through Heaven. In between, the lessons he learns from his five people are peppered with flashbacks that enhance the reader's understanding of why those people are there, and why Eddie needs to learn these lessons to find peace.
The Things They Carried is a collection of war stories, often with the details bent or changed from one story to another, that creates several flashbacks of Tim O'Brien's experiences as a soldier during the Vietnam War.