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Best Use of Foreshadowing? (Spoilers, lol...)

Original Alear

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Earlier today I set forth to re-consult the works of John Barth, or more specifically a work which goes by the name Chimera. I would have to say that the death of the Chimera in the book constitutes the best/silliest example of foreshadowing I have seen in a work of literature. The entire writing of the work is reconstituted as Bellerophon, a Greek hero for those who don't know, slays the Chimera with a leadened spear (see pencil) tipped with paper inscribed with "magic runes" - that is to say, letters unreadable to the narrative voice which itself is disembodied, though mostly attributed to Bellerophon, whose identity is intentionally confused within the novella - most likely intended to be a copy of the novel itself (an anachronism in a book with frequent use of anachronisms, which might be a sort of twisted way of vaunting the book's status internally by harping on its timelessness, existing not only after but before its creation chronologically in the "false history" within the novel as well as in the true chronology without it).

This has an effect reminiscent of Leibniz's claim in the monadology that each indivisible particle of the universe reflects the whole of the universe - the translation of the book, unreadable to the people of the time, into the narrative flow such that it becomes a piece of itself. The reason why it serves as foreshadowing is that, at the book's end, we find ourselves in a conversation (literally, the father and son chiefly responsible for the conundrum conversing regarding the nature of their experiences) regarding the narrative's structure that ends with the words "It's not a Bellerophoniad, it's a - [Chimera]" leading us to close the book and again view the cover, Chimera by John Barth - the middle of the story, the appearance of the Chimera and of the work within the work, mimics the ending, the appearance of the cover of the book as we close it (the Chimera's literal death within the plot being the first closing, the actual physical closing of the book being the second). There is something of the Ouroboros (tail-devouring world snake) to it.

Now that I've ruined its best trick for you, go buy it! I say this in part because I believe Chimera was essentially intended as a more obvious-than-normal advertisement for Barth's other books... Seriously though, does any foreshadowing of future events within a work of fiction that you remember strike a similarly strong chord with the entire work? I can think of one other off the top of my head, narrow as my memory is, but I'm confident there are many more...

(I've become a TvTroper)

Edited by Blue Mars
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