is the narrative device of omitting a
portion of the sequence of events, allowing the reader to fill in
the narrative gaps.
An ellipsis in narrative
leaves out a
portion of the story. This can be used to condense time, or as a
stylistic method to allow the reader to fill in the missing
portions of the narrative with their imagination.
A famous example of ellipsis in narrative is offered by Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse
Between the first and second parts of the novel, many years pass
and World War I
is fought and won. The
reader is left to infer the events that have taken place during the
elapsed time by the changes evident in the characters in the
Ellipsis is also commonly employed in the narrative of films
. One such usage is found in Stanley Kubrick
's 2001: A Space Odyssey
, where the
film goes from the first tool of humankind (a bone) to the latest
(a spaceship). In this case the ellipsis was made possible by a
Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu
is also famous for his use of ellipsis.
Important people or
events would be omitted in his narration, leaving the audience to
infer what has happened through subsequent dialog concerning those
people or events. For example, in Tokyo
, the climatic event, the death of the mother, is
never shown, only the aftermath reactions.