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The flashback (analepsis) occurs when the writer breaks away from the current action of a story to recount events that happened earlier. It is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point. It is also the interruption of the normal flow of events to the events that happened earlier. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events to fill in crucial backstory. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative while external analepsis is a flashback to a time before the narrative started.
Flashback is used when:
√ The narrator tells another character about past events.
√ The narrator has a dream about past events.
√ The narrator thinks back to past events, revealing the information only to the reader.
√ The narrator reads a letter that prompts back to an earlier time.
The difference between a memory and a flashback is that a memory is brief and does not interrupt the normal flow of a story.