May 24, 2023 · 3 Examples of Flashbacks in Literature. A sight, a sound, a smell, a time, a place—writers use different stimuli to trigger a flashback. Once they take the reader back in time, they use flashbacks to enlighten them. Here are three flashback examples that demonstrate different ways this device can be used in literature:
Aug 23, 2020 · We’re going to break down flashbacks by looking at how they’re used by writers, with examples from classical literature like The Odyssey and recent films like Manchester By The Sea. But before we jump into our examples let’s define flashback.
- What Is A Flashback?
- Examples of Flashback in Literature
- Function of Flashback
A flashback is a device used in stories, films, television episodes, etc., that interrupts the flow of the plot to “show” readers/viewers an event that happened previously. Most flashbacks are utilized to provide background so that the audience has a greater understanding of the story, characters, setting, etc., taking place in the chronological present. Flashbacks can take place at any point in the narrativearc, from the first to the last scene.
Use of Flashback in Literature
A flashback can serve many purposes in literature, including: 1. create suspensein the story 2. illustrate a certain character’s behavior 3. provide contextabout the setting 4. allow readers to “see” a memory During a flashback, readers understand that it represents something that has previously occurred in the timeline of the story. This literary device can shed light on deeper meanings and levels of storytelling without the writer overtly explaining to the reader in the “present” narrative.
Example #1: The Holy Bible
The Bible is a good source of flashback examples. In the Book of Matthew, we see a flashback has been used when Joseph, governor of Egypt, sees his brothers after several years. Joseph “remembered his dreams” about his brothers, and how they sold him into slavery in the past.
Example #2: Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesmanuses flashback to narrate Willy Loman’s memories of the past. At one moment, Willy talks with his dead brother while playing cards with Charley. He relives a past conversation in the present. This demonstrates a character that is physically living in the present, but mentally living in the memories and events of the past.
Example #3: The Cruel Mother
Another example of flashback is the ballad of The Cruel Mother, in which a mother remembers her murdered child. While going to church, she remembers her child’s birth, growing up, and death. Later, she thinks back further to a distant time in her past to rememberhow her own mother was ruthless to her.
The use of a flashback is to convey to the readers information regarding the character’s background, and give them an idea of the character’s motives for doing certain things later in the story. Therefore, a flashback in the story deepens inner conflict. It provides stimulus for the conflict, deepens the touching effects, and allows the reader to s...
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- Definition of a Flashback. In literature, a flashback is an occurrence in which a character remembers an earlier event that happened before the current point of the story.
- Common Examples of Flashback. Many of us have flashbacks quite frequently. We may have flashbacks when we think of someone whom we haven’t thought of in a while, and remember some memory that that person was a part of.
- Significance of Flashback in Literature. Authors use flashbacks in their works for many different reasons. One key reason is to fill in elements of one or more characters’ backstories.
- Examples of Flashback in Literature. Example #1. We looked on, waiting patiently—there was nothing else to do till the end of the flood; but it was only after a long silence, when he said, in a hesitating voice, “I suppose you fellows remember I did once turn fresh-water sailor for a bit,” that we knew we were fated, before the ebb began to run, to hear about one of Marlow’s inconclusive experiences.
flashback, in motion pictures and literature, narrative technique of interrupting the chronological sequence of events to interject events of earlier occurrence. The earlier events often take the form of reminiscence. The flashback technique is as old as Western literature.
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica