Foreshadowing can be a difficult element to pick up. It takes a skilled reader to see the subtlety that the author uses to keep readers engaged and unconsciously anticipating future events. Foreshadowing can provide readers with hints and a sense of events to come, or be used as a red herring, leading the reader in the wrong direction.
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Types of Foreshadowing Worksheet & Template with foreshadowing examples to help students understand as they work!
Commonly referred to as "Chekov's Gun", this is when the author explicitly states something that they want you to be aware of for the future. In the eponymous example, if an author mentions a rifle hanging on the wall in an early chapter, it will be used later.
TYPES OF FORESHADOWING
EXAMPLE FROM THE READING
Also known as "Prophecies", this type of foreshadowing is linked to a fortune or prophecy that a character will receive, which explicitly tells the reader what will happen in the future. Although sometimes this fortune or omen can seem unclear, they end up coming true in the end.
A concrete foreshadowing example is from Great Expectations is when Pip mentions that the stranger in the bar stirred his drink with a file. This foreshadowed a connection with the first convict, who the reader later learns is Pip's benefactor.
An example of prominent foreshadowing from Great Expectations is when Pip is given the conditions of his expectations from Jaggers. He stated that Pip may not inquire by any means whom his benefactor is, until the time they choose to reveal themselves.
"Flashback/Flash-forward": When an author needs the reader to know something that doesn't fit with the current story line, they will usually use a flashback or flash-forward to give the reader the information. Most of the time, the information obtained in the flash will have clues or hints to something the author wants you to remember or pick up on later, which makes this a great form of foreshadowing.
Also referred to as "Symbolic" Foreshadowing: This particular type of foreshadowing is much harder to pick up. It is abstract and requires thinking outside the box. It is an even more oblique hint than other types of foreshadowing. In a novel, for instance, the author could describe a sudden change of weather. This change often foreshadows a change in a character's luck, mood, or behavior.
In the novel Great Expectations, there are several times when Pip interjects as the narrator and gives the reader his inner thoughts from the present. Many instances it is to tell the reader how foolish he was, like when he mistreated Joe.
Many times in Great Expectations, Miss Havisham's home is described as shrouded in mist, darkness, or gloom. This abstract foreshadowing example is a warning; like her setting, Miss Havisham is a dark and baleful individual.
Commonly called "The Red Herring": This is the most fun of all the types of foreshadowing. A red herring is a wild goose chase or smoke screen that diverts readers' attention. Its only purpose is to throw the reader off, causing more suspicion, intrigue, and surprise. It is commonly found in works of detective fiction, but can lend itself anywhere the author needs to avert suspicion.
Throughout the novel, Pip believes his benefactor is Miss Havisham, and for good reason. Too many coincidences and people around her become close to Pip during his time in London. However, in the end, he learns it was his convict.