How to Write an Essay on Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing, a tool wherein future events are hinted at or suggested early in a narrative, makes a great topic for an essay. You can begin your essay with an introduction identifying how foreshadowing works along with your essay’s thesis, or main argument. Structure your body paragraphs around some key foreshadowing examples from literature or film, and complete your essay with a polished conclusion that synthesizes the main points you’ve made.

    Essay Structure

    • Your first paragraph, or introductory paragraph, should prepare your reader for your subsequent essay. Clearly define foreshadowing, and briefly explain the key points that you will make in your essay. You could say, for example, that you will be comparing and contrasting the use of foreshadowing in text versus film or between different literary examples. Finish this introductory paragraph with a thesis summarizing the main claim of your forthcoming writing. Your following body paragraphs should support this central point, with a conclusion restating your essay’s thesis and main claims.

    Examples of Foreshadowing

    • An essay on literary foreshadowing could, for example, discuss different applications across literary history following a close reading of several texts. Having read Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” for example, you could discuss how early language in the respective narratives hinted at the eventual demise of key characters. You could also examine the translation of foreshadowing between literature and film, beginning with a book employing the device that was then adapted into a movie. Close reading and viewing of Stephen King’s “The Shining,” for example, could reveal subtle differences in the potential foreshadowing of text versus visual expression.


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