Friday, June 4, 2010
Literary Devices Part 2: Chekhov's Gun
It's seems I'm doing a series on plot twists and literary devices. Check out my first one on the Deus Ex Machina in which I make several false statements which I'll outline on this post. Sorry about the mistake, but I'm learning along the way too.
Hey, it's a blog, not legal document! Here are your grains of salt (...) :)
I'm learning along the way, so I appreciate the comments and support!
Anyway, on to Chekhov's Gun. It was so named after Anton Chekhov (no, NOT the guy from Star Trek) the Russian writer, playwright, and physician who once said, "Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress."
Anywho. He did say in a few letters, that "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there."
Chekhov's Gun eventually came to mean an object (or person) which seems insignificant or unclear, but later becomes a crucial element of the plot.
So my mistake from the earlier post?
The eagles saving Frodo and Sam at the end of LOTR is more of a Chekhov's gun. They are mentioned earlier a few times in the book but it's unclear how they will take part in the battle of good vs evil.
And in Harry Potter? Fawkes is kind of a Chekhov's gun too. We meet him early on, but he just seems like a fancy, mythical office pet. Actually, HP is filled with Chekhov's guns. The snitch, Mrs. Figgs, the locket...there are more I'm sure, but I can't remember them all!
Do you have a Chekhov's Gun in your plot?