Affective Foreshadowing

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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Foreshadowing is a literary device used in both Of Mice and Men and The Pearl. Foreshadowing is when a part or event in a story suggests something before it happens.

In The Pearl the songs of evil foreshadow the events that would soon happen.

After hearing the songs in his head, something dangerous or bad would happen to Kino. For example on page thirty-six it reads, "He smelled the breeze and he listened for any foreign sound of secrecy or creeping, and his eye searched the darkness, for the music of evil was sounding in his head and he was fierce and afraid." Soon after Kino got in a fight with someone who was trying to steal the pearl. Kino ended up stabbing this person. Foreshadowing was also used when the appraisers told Kino that the pearl was worthless. Kino counted on these men to be honest, after they lied it showed how they rest of the town would probably act.

And the town did indeed act this way, many people wanted and tried to steal his discovery and its worth away from Kino and his family. Later on Kino was forced to run away because of the greed people had. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito's running away, and their fear of people's greed, because of what had happened with the pearl, resulted in the death of his son. This was all pretty much predicted when Juana said, "This thing is evil, it will destroy us!" and in the end, it did.

Events in Of Mice and Men were also foreshadowed. In the beginning of the book, Lennie finds a mouse and sticks it in his pocket. You know Lennie loves soft things so you know that something will happen, and sure enough he kills the animal just by petting it too hard and not being able to let go of it. Lennie also couldn't control himself with the puppy either, he didn't listen to George when he told Lennie to leave it alone, so he kept playing with it, you can figure out what will happen because of what happened with the mouse. The first incident foreshadowed the second and the second lead up to the last. The last event was when Lennie killed Culey's wife, you knew when she started yelling for him to stop touching her, he wouldn't be able to. Lennie killed her just like the mouse and the puppy.

I think foreshadowing was used more effectively in The Pearl. The songs of evil always brought on something horrible, so you could predict that when Kino heard them, something bad was going to happen. In Of Mice and Men you had to think back more to the other events and realize what would happen. In The Pearl the words even of the "songs of evil" sounded bad so you knew nothing good would happen after you read this phrase. Also in The Pearl foreshadowing was used more so it was easier to predict events that would happen. For example after that first time Kino heard the songs he got in a fight so when you read that Kino was hearing the songs again you knew nothing good could happen.

Both books did use foreshadowing, in one book it was easier to spot then in the other. Either way, foreshadowing always makes you want to read on because it gives you a little taste of what will happen, and it's fun to guess what the outcome will be. You can't help but to read on to see if your right, and with foreshadowing you get an idea that something big will happen soon. Steinbeck used foreshadowing in a very effective way in both books. His style kept me reading and wanting to know more and his use of foreshadowing kept luring me back to the book.