Difference between foreshadowing and flashback

Main difference

The main difference between Foreshadowing and Flashback is that Foreshadowing describes the fate of the story, while Flashback explains the past occurrences of a character.

Omen vs. flash back

Foreshadowing is a suspense tool; on the other hand, a flashback is a motivational tool. Foreshadowing tells of upcoming events in a script, while flashback tells of earlier events in the script. The foreshadowing creates emotion in the story; on the contrary, the flashback is always related to an incident. The omen describes hints of fate; on the other hand, flashback signifies the fear of a character.

Foreshadowing is used in certain required areas of the writing, while flashback is added at any point in the writing. Specific rules need to be considered to implement foreshadowing, while no specific rules are needed for flashback. The foreshadowing narrative creates a boring ending; on the other hand, flashback narration means better understanding. The omen is one of the strengths of the story; on the other hand, a flashback is a motivation for a character.

The use of foreshadowing can be indirect or direct, while the use of flashback is always direct and overt. The forms of foreshadowing can be in the form of dialogue, metaphor or simile, the personality of the character and the atmosphere of the scene, while the flashback inserts itself into memories and dreams.

Foreshadowing is less preferred compared to flashback. Foreshadowing cannot be applied to comparison, while flashback can be used to compare sad and happy times.

Comparison chart

Omen Retrospective scene
One technique used to build suspense in a story is foreshadowing. One technique used to recount past events in history is a flashback.
Future Last
To create suspense in the scripts. May be incident related
area of ​​use
At certain points in the script Can be used throughout the script
He says
hints of destiny About the fear of a person
strength of a story Motivations of a character
Less Plus
preferred technique
least preferred most preferred
not used for comparison Comparison in poetry
Dialogue, the title of the story dreams, memories
makes boring endings deepen understanding

What is the omen?

Omen is a literary term used to narrate the fate of history in writing. Talk about the future, hint at upcoming events. It creates a sense of suspense, builds a dramatic story, curiosity, and a sense of unease. It all depends on the writer; Are you using the technique efficiently or not? It is the power of a story. Sometimes the writer applied a different version of the foreshadowing that creates suspense, but the reader doesn’t understand until the end of the story.

The omen is a creator of twists in a story like a movie based on a ghost story. The main character sees evils around him. There may be many facts or elements of the story. Perhaps the person himself is a ghost. The story will be revealed at the end. It is an important tool, it does not only apply to storybooks, it can be used in any book. Foreshadowing is important in creating a dramatic situation. If a writer doesn’t use it correctly, the suspense soon reveals itself; the reader bored and showed no interest, except for shock.

There can be many ways to use the omen. Character dialogue can be a clue, title of the story, setting of the atmosphere of the story, use of metaphors and similes, the traits and appearance of the character, these are some ways to use foreshadowing in a story.


  • Direct Foreshadowing: In this type, the writer uses clues and open-ended situations for the later story. The story, a twist, or a problem is openly described.
  • Indirect Foreshadowing: In this type, the story consists of hints and clues, but the reader cannot understand the hidden twist until the end of the story. This type of foreshadowing creates an original shocking situation. For example, The Empire Strikes Back, is a mystery story.

What is Flashback?

Flashback, as the term shows, is an indication of past events. It is a technique to exaggerate a dramatic situation in a story and deepens the story. It is an important tool for character development as we see a character, when past events related to the current situation, increase the character’s strength in the story. Flashback is a concrete weapon for a story.

For example, in a story, if a man is afraid of heights. There may be an incidence in his life that he has created fear in his mind. Maybe he survived an accident on a mountain. He passed the time. But he is not able to overcome that fear, so the character has a backstory from his past experiences. Character development occurs by flashback. In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the character Marlow recounts the past events of his journey down the Congo River.

Flashback is an intrusion that the writer uses to enter previous actions to access the narration of the current situation. Flashback methods are dreams and memories. Provides the character‘s background and tells you the character’s motive. In poetry, the poet uses the flashback to narrate the pleasure that he had in the past, but now lacks. The poet uses flashback to compare happy and sad days.

The poem “Birches” by “Robert Frost” has lines, “so once I was a birch rake.” And so I dream of being again ”and“ I would like to get away from the earth for a while, and then come back to it and start again ”. These lines specify that the poet wants to enjoy the freedom and happiness of days gone by.

Key differences

  1. Foreshadowing is a technique to hint at the fate of writing, while flashback relates past experiences to recent occurrence.
  2. Foreshadowing of conversations about upcoming events; on the other hand, the flashback speaks of events that are gone.
  3. Foreshadowing creates emotion in a story; on the other hand, the flashback always recounts a past event in history.
  4. The use of foreshadowing is found in certain areas of a script to give hints about the future of the story; conversely, the use of flashback may be throughout the story.
  5. Omen narrates the fate of history. On the other hand, the flashback speaks of the fear of an incident.
  6. Foreshadowing is a story-strengthening tool, while flashback negotiates a character‘s motives.
  7. Foreshadowing provides less clarity, while flashback creates a better atmosphere of understanding.
  8. Foreshadowing is an imaginary ability used by a writer; conversely, a flashback is a more preferred technique.
  9. Foretelling is not a term of comparison; conversely, the flashback in poetry compares the good and the bad times.
  10. The foreshadowing can be a dialogue clue, a story title, a character‘s clothing, and a metaphor or simile; on the other hand, flashback is recalled as dreams or memories.
  11. The omen narrates the moments to come; thus, a reader finds a boring ending on the other hand, in case the flashback narrative deepens the reader’s interest.

Final Thought

Foreshadowing and flashback are exciting tools that writers use in their writing. The omen anticipates the future and the flashback generates a relationship between past and present events.

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