An image, series of images, or anything--e.g., introductory quotes, scrolls of text, or narrations--
that serves the function of foretelling subtly what the story will be about narratively or
thematically, typically without being a part of the storyline itself. Where no establishing image
is present, the movie title, the first scene, or the first line of dialogue can serve the same
purpose, perhaps collectively. The establishing image functions like sagacious quotes that lead
off essays or chapters of books, or topical sentences that introduce paragraphs. It tells us what
you're going to tell us, it focuses our attention on what's important in your story, it piques our
- --predict, especially from signs or omens; foretell.
- --be a sign or omen: A smooth dress rehearsal augured well for the play.
- --foreshow by present signs; indicate something future by that which is seen or known; as, a
dark cloud often betokens a storm.
- --be an omen; portend: The peace accord bodes well for the city under siege.
- --present an indication or a suggestion of beforehand; presage.
- --indicate by signs; "These signs bode bad news".
- --tell of or indicate beforehand; predict.
- --divine or foreshow by signs or portents; to have omens or premonitions regarding; to
predict; to augur; as, to omen ill of an enterprise.
- --serve as an omen or a warning of; presage: black clouds that portend a storm.
- --indicate or warn of in advance; portend.
- --suggest, indicate, or represent by an antecedent form or model; presage or foreshadow:
The paintings of Paul Cézanne prefigured the rise of cubism in the early 20th century.
- --make representative of something; regard or treat as symbolic.
- --express indirectly; be a symbol of; "What does the Statue of Liberty symbolize?"