Thursday, January 10, 2013

What do you call it?

Can anyone help with a literary term? What is it called in metafiction when the narrator deliberately steps out of the novel and reveals something that will happen to one or some of the characters outside the timeframe of the story? An example from Blood Meridian:
David Brown rode at the rear and he was leaving his brother here for what would prove forever...
Essentially, we're being taken out of the story and being privileged with information we shouldn't have, or at least not at this stage. I know there's a word for this technique but I can't remember. Can anyone help?

5 comments:

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Hey Tom, are you maybe thinking of prolepsis - Genette's term for a flash-forward?

Tom Conoboy said...

wow, that was fast! Yes, that's exactly it, thank you very much!!

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Woo-hoo! All my book-learning has finally paid off! ;-)

Unknown said...

Or simply foreshadowing.

Richard L. Pangburn said...

hmmm...seems to me that this is just McCarthy's omnipresent narrator. He's everywhere and knows everything and is telling the story that happened in the past.

"See the child." The omnipresent guide sometimes tells you where to look.

The fourth curtain is usually broken when a character breaks out of the play and talks directly to the audience. McCarthy's narrator in BLOOD MERIDIAN breaks the fourth curtain a time or two, such as with the rhetorical question on p. 38:

"How many youths have come home cold and dead just such nights and just such plans?"

Valerie is right too. The omipresent narrator sometimes thus uses prolepsis.

There are so many similies, "like somes," in McCarthy's novel that it suggests that the omnipresent narrator knows that he is telling the story to someone with a similar experience. The implication is there.