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Foreshadowing in The Old Nurse's Story

Foreshadowing Examples in The Old Nurse's Story:

The Old Nurse's Story

🔒 7

"the great bronze chandelier seemed all alight, though the hall was dim, and that a fire was blazing in the vast hearth-place, though it gave no heat..."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

Notice how some things are eerily silent and incongruous with Hester’s senses: though the chandelier seems lit, there is no light coming from it, and although there appears to be a fire, the hall remains chilly. This not only adds to the ghostly, scary tone of the passage but also it suggests that Hester and the others are experiencing a situation or memory related to the ghostly child, who was also unable to make a sound.

"with the dark wound on its right shoulder..."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

This observation is sinister, suggesting that violence had been committed against the ghostly child. However, the details of the injury remain unknown, increasing suspense as readers wonder how Rosamond and Hester will escape the danger surrounding them.

"but Miss Furnivall kept shrieking out, 'Oh, have mercy! Wilt Thou never forgive! It is many a long year ago——'..."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

Miss Furnivall’s dramatic reaction—the first display of sincere emotion we have seen from her or Mrs. Stark—is startling. Because Miss Furnivall seems genuinely afraid of the child, readers begin to suspect that she might know more than she’s saying about the cause of the supernatural happenings. This increases the suspense of the scene and greatly heightens the pervading sense of danger, and gives credibility to Rosamond’s version of events. Readers will likely begin to suspect that the supernatural events have something to do with the household’s history based on her outburst.

"I saw it was all broken and destroyed inside, though it looked so brave and fine..."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

The eeriness of the manor is intensified here. Although the organ looks beautiful on the outside, on the inside it is completely nonfunctional. It shouldn’t be able to make any noise, and yet Hester and the servants have definitely heard its music on late nights. The organ’s condition suggests a supernatural explanation rather than a rational one.

"who the old lord was, or why he played, and why he played on stormy winter evenings in particular, she either could not or would not tell me...."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

This question—why does the music often occur on chilly winter evenings?— and others are established here, leading readers to wonder if such questions will be answered by the end of the story. Though Hester has gotten information out of Bessy, other servants still might know more about the mysterious music’s source.

"all, except the east wing, which was never opened, and whither we never thought of going. ..."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

The mysterious nature of the east wing and why it’s closed create an atmosphere of curiosity in readers (and Hester’s listeners), contributing to the sense that the manor and family history are full of secrets that some would prefer to remain buried. Out of respect for propriety, Hester and Rosamond refrain from attempting to find out more about the strange east wing.

"I would have gone with the little child to the end of the world...."   (The Old Nurse's Story)

Here, Hester’s devotion to Rosamond is hyperbolically stated. Due to Rosamond’s naturally likeable disposition and her tragically familiar circumstances, Hester’s affection for the baby is unparalleled; this sets the stage for Hester’s protection of Rosamond when she finds the latter in danger.

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