Vol. 2 No. 2 (2022): Time

The Use of Time Reorder as a Literary Plot Device

Diana Maria Panaitescu
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Published 2022-12-22


  • time reordering,
  • timeline,
  • literary device,
  • chronology,
  • history

How to Cite

Panaitescu, D. M. (2022). The Use of Time Reorder as a Literary Plot Device. Papers in Arts and Humanities, 2(2), 39–50. https://doi.org/10.52885/pah.v2i2.105


The concept of time is deeply rooted within the field of literature; not only does it present itself in literary works in the form of theme or symbol. It can also be viewed in the reflection of the time in which the piece was written; but, most importantly in the context of this paper, it plays an essential and indispensable role as a plot device when constructing the narration. The modification of these expressions of time varies in accordance with the author’s views and purposes for their literary work. Thus, instances of toying with the base structure of time flow occur. This paper aims to display the employment of time reordering as a plot device in order to conclude whether this manner of writing was beneficial to the works in which it is depicted. This analysis will take into consideration a variety of advantages that time reordering could provide, from adding a sense of mystery, chaos, or irony, to much more intricate plot, structure or even subtext benefits. To be able to encounter all of the mentioned benefits, this paper will discuss a selected number of fictional literary works from the Gothic-like historical novel Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd to the contemporary novel The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson. The term of time reordering within this paper will refer to the abandonment of a linear plot line and the approach of multiple timelines or a hazardous presentation of events.


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