Easter Eggs & Other Hidden Gems In English


Have you ever heard of an easter egg hidden in a video game or film?

Did you know if there is a gun in the first act of a play that the gun MUST be used in one of the next acts?

Let me introduce you to words and phrases used frequently to describe things in movies, tv shows, video games and sometimes, even my lessons!

1. Easter Egg

Meaning: A hidden message, image, or feature in a piece of media, such as a video game, movie, or software.
Example: Pixar movies often include Easter Eggs referencing other Pixar films.
Explanation: Easter Eggs are fun and rewarding for those who discover them, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience, especially for long term fans of a franchise.

2. Red Herring

Meaning: A clue or piece of information that is intentionally misleading or distracting.
Example: In mystery novels, a red herring might be used to divert attention away from the real culprit.
Explanation: Red herrings are used to create suspense and mislead the audience, making the final revelation more surprising.

3. Plot Device

Meaning: An element introduced into a story to advance the plot or resolve a situation.
Example: A character reading an email or text message on someone else’s phone is a common plot device in dramas.
Explanation: Plot devices help to move the story forward, often resolving conflicts or providing new directions for the plot.

4. MacGuffin

Meaning: An object or goal that drives the plot of a story but has little significance in itself.
Example: The briefcase in the movie “Pulp Fiction” is a classic MacGuffin.
Explanation: MacGuffins are used to motivate characters and propel the plot, even though they may not be important in the end.

5. Chekhov’s Gun

Meaning: Every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed.
Example: If a gun is shown on the wall in the first act of a play, it must go off in a later act.
Explanation: This idea emphasizes the importance of foreshadowing and ensuring that every detail has a purpose.

6. Foreshadowing

Meaning: A literary device where a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.
Example: Storm clouds gathering in the background can foreshadow trouble ahead. Do you know what it’s called when the weather foreshadows events to come in a book or film? The answer is at the end of this article!
Explanation: Foreshadowing creates anticipation and suspense, helping to prepare the audience for future events.

7. Deus Ex Machina

Meaning: An unexpected power or event that saves a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.
Example: In Greek tragedies, a god would appear at the last moment to resolve a plot.
Explanation: While sometimes seen as a lazy plot device, Deus Ex Machina can add an element of surprise and resolution.

8. Cliffhanger

Meaning: A dramatic and exciting ending to an episode of a serial, leaving the audience in suspense and eager to return.
Example: A season finale that ends with the main character in grave danger is a classic cliffhanger.
Explanation: Cliffhangers keep the audience engaged and eager for the next installment, maintaining interest and suspense. Usually they also annoy us because we don’t want to wait until the next season or film to find out what happens!

9. Motif

Meaning: A recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story.
Example: The green light in “The Great Gatsby” serves as a motif representing Gatsby’s hopes and dreams.
Explanation: Motifs reinforce themes and ideas, adding depth and meaning to the narrative.

10. Subplot

Meaning: A secondary strand of the plot that is a supporting side story for any story or the main plot.
Example: In “Harry Potter,” the subplot of Hermione‚Äôs efforts to free house-elves adds depth to the main narrative.
Explanation: Subplots enrich the main story by exploring additional themes and character development.


Now that you understand these terms you can join in on discussions about your favourite book or film, or even video game! Games such as Fallout are usually packed with easter eggs, with Motifs of post apocalyptic survival, subplots surrounding the rebuilding of civilisation, and usually uses Chekov’s Gun (Think of the bomb in Megaton in Fallout 3).


Did you know the answer to the question from earlier? Let’s see the question again: Do you know what it’s called when the weather foreshadows events to come in a book or film? The answer is at the end of this article!

The answer is: The Pathetic Fallacy!

The Pathetic Fallacy: The pathetic fallacy is the use of the weather or other things to reflect the mood of the character or the story. For example, if the writer talks about their being a lightening storm with thunder and heavy rain the story is probably turning into a more violent, aggressive or depressing phase. If the writer mentions the sun shining, the bees buzzing and the laughter of children, the story is probably in a happy phase.

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