Standard 3.6
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Standard 3.6 Analyze and trace an author’s development of time sequence, including the use of complex literary devices (e.g., foreshadowing, flashback). Flashback and Foreshadowing. Number of Questions.

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Standard 3.6Analyze and trace an author’s development of time sequence, including the use of complex literary devices (e.g., foreshadowing, flashback).


and Foreshadowing

Number of questions
Number of Questions

The literary response and analysis section of the CAHSEE contains 20 multiple choice questions.There are two questions on the CAHSEE regarding your understanding of Standard 3.6.


  • Identifying flashbacks and foreshadowing helps you understand the sequence of events in the story.

  • Flashbacks add information to the story.

  • Foreshadowing helps the reader anticipate what might be coming.

Order of events
Order of Events

Most stories are told in a certain order.

  • Sequential order

  • Chronological (time) order

    Writers use these strategies to tell a story.

Clues to sequences
Clues to Sequences

These words give you clues that the text is being told in chronological (time) order:







Sometimes authors need to tell you about events that happened before the story begins. To not confuse you, the author might stop the story to give you information about characters, events or conflicts in the past. When the author does this, it is called a flashback.

Identifying a flashback
Identifying a Flashback

You can tell you’re reading a flashback when the scene changes and the story flashes back to the past.

  • Sometimes an entire chapter in story is a flashback.

  • There may be more than one flashback within a story.

  • Authors often give you clues, such as:

    “It all started when…”

    “That brings us to today…”


Foreshadowing is a warning or hint about an event that may happen in the future of the story.

Identify foreshadowing
Identify Foreshadowing

  • Look for incidents that happen early on in the story that might relate to a character.

  • Look for clues which suggest what might happen next.

    NOTE: A famous playwright wrote that if you put a gun onstage in Act I, you must use it by Act II.

    What might that mean?


You’re reading a story and it’s set in an old house. The family is sitting at the table eating dinner when suddenly the lights go off and on without anyone touching the switch. The family goes on eating dinner and eventually they forget about the incident with the lights.

What might the incident foreshadow?

Making a guess
Making a Guess

The incident with the lights foreshadows something bad that will happen in the story.