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An example of a non-linear plot device would be foreshadowing.
"...the place [Ship-Trap Island] has a reputation—a bad one."
The Most Dangerous Game
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The actual conflict is a build up from the conversation Whitney has with Rainsford at the beginning of the story. The whole theme of the hunter becoming the hunted slowly comes into focus as we listen to Zaroff explain the thrill of the hunt to Rainsford. The author likes to give hints and then slowly turn up the tension.
Heh sorry 'bout that Mrs./Ms. Jill didn't mean to really type the one that was answered