Authors use a variety of literary techniques to lead and engage the reader from the exposition or beginning of a story to its resolution or the end. One of the most powerful literary techniques is foreshadowing. To foreshadow conflict means to give clues or hints to suggest events that will occur later in the story, either good or bad. These clues can be either obvious or subtle and can be weaved into dialogue, description or the attitudes and reactions of the characters. Among its many purposes, it gives the reader a taste of what it to come. It is found in nearly every type of writing including plays, novels, short stories, poetry and even journalism.
Foreshadowing.org is for writers and the general public interested in learning about foreshadowing, its definition and examples of foreshadowing in literature. Learn how to use it in your craft or identity it in literature and movies.
"A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory" offers a proper foreshadowing definition: "The technique of arranging events and information in a narrative in such a way that later events are prepared for or shadowed forth beforehand." This literary device is used to build suspense and prepare the reader's subconscious for the conflict. It also helps the reader believe extraordinary events when they happen. It can be subtle, such as rain in the beginning of a story to suggest something bad is going to happen, or more obvious, such as in the prologue of "Romeo and Juliet": "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life."
Examples of foreshadowing in literature are found in both classic and contemporary writing. You can obverse these examples by watching a movie or reading a novel. A classic example of this technique is found in the children's fairytale "Little Red Riding Hood." Her mother tells her to take some food to her ill grandmother. However, she warns her to behave herself on the way and stay on the path otherwise she might fall and break the glass. Her mother's warning foreshadows the big bad wolf. Other examples are found in Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour" and John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."