Foreshadow-Anticipation of plot

Discussion in 'English Only' started by julipaz, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. julipaz Member

    Hi Everybody! This is my first time, so be patient! My students and I are reading "Arms and the man" by B. Shaw. I have a doubt with the literature term 'foreshadow'. I know it gives the reader a hint about a coming event. But when Catherine says " Do you suppose they would hesitate to kill you-or worse?" (They=Serbs or Austrian officers); I would not say that it is anticipating what is coming next, it is just the opposite! Captain Bluntschli enters Raina's bedchamber and in a way, asks for help, instead of shooting at her. I cannot say either that is the opposite of foreshadow, 'cause it is not a 'flashback'! I do not consider that it might be taken as 'situation irony', for it is Catherine who's expecting this to happen (being killed by a Serb in any situation) and not the reader. Shall I call it FORESHADOW all the same? I believe the same device is used in "Titanic" when someone says "Not even God can sink this ship". Am I right?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello julipaz - welcome to the forums:)

    Like you, I would feel uncomfortable using "foreshadow" to refer to something that doesn't actually anticipate a subsequent development in the plot.

    Could you perhaps simply say that the writer is "heightening the tension" by putting those words into the character's mouth?
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I agree that "foreshadowing" isn't a perfect fit in this situation, at least not as we usually see it employed or applied. That said, one could argue that a dramatic confrontation or meeting is being foreshadowed.
  4. julipaz Member

    Thank you for your quick response! The same happens when Raina says "This is the happiest night of my life-if only there are no fugitives" (and, as I have already mentioned, a stranger enters her room). Do you think I might call it ANTICIPATION OF PLOT?
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi again, julipaz.

    I've been looking at the text (here).

    I'd say the various references to fugitives - and to the importance of locking shutters which we then learn have a missing bolt - are all "building up" to the moment where the fugitive bursts in through the shutters.

    I don't think I'd call it anticipation, not least since the references are followed in fairly quick succession by the fugitive's arrival.

    That said, it's many years since I did any literary criticism:D

    EDIT: looking back a biblio's post, I agree with his last comment: you could say that the references "foreshadow" the dramatic arrival of the fugitive.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  6. julipaz Member

    The forum proved to be extremely useful because of people like you Guys!
    Thanks a lot!

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