literature meme | tropes [3/4] - chekhov’s gun
Chekhov’s Gun is a literary technique whereby an unimportant element introduced early in the story becomes significant later on. For example, a character may find a mysterious necklace that turns out to be the power source to the Doomsday Device, but at the time of finding the object it does not seem important. Many people consider the phrase “Chekhov’s gun” synonymous with foreshadowing (and they are related), but statements the author made about the Gun can be more properly interpreted as “do not include any unnecessary elements in a story.” (Indeed, Chekhov himself first described the concept in reference to live theater productions, where placing a loaded gun on the set would be a clear safety hazard.) Like Foreshadowing, the object’s importance often goes unnoticed by the audience, and becomes clear only in retrospect, or during a second viewing.