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Ellipsis 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's novel, 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 novel.

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 match cut.

The Japanesemarker 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 Story, the climatic event, the death of the mother, is never shown, only the aftermath reactions.


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