What is it? A literary device A reference to a famous person, event, or literary work It’s often BRIEF and without explanation (When an author uses allusion, what does he/she assume about the audience?)
Why would writers use allusion? To display knowledge or cleverness Add historical depth to a piece of literature ??? (what do you think?)
Five Major Types of Allusion Mythological Biblical Literary Historical Pop Cultural
Mythological Allusion References/cites Greek or Roman mythology Most often references Zeus, Hercules, his family members, etc Example: “Achilles Last Stand” – Led Zeppelin
Biblical Allusion References scenes, themes, verses, or people from the Bible (Old and New Testament) Example: We're just three MCs and we're on the go Shadrach, Mesach, Abednego “Shadrach” – Beastie Boys
Biblical Allusion Continued Example: Though I walk through the valley of death I shed so many tears If I should die before I wake Please God walk with me Grab a nigga and take me to Heaven “So Many Tears” – Tupac
Historical Allusion Refers to major historical events or figures Example: “The Battle of San Romano” - Uccello
Literary Allusions References authors, their characters, situations from books, etc Example: “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye. Yes, it was this.” “Ol’ Evil Eye” – Insane Clown Posse
Literary Allusions continued “Someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline. Someday I’ll wear pajamas in the daytime. Oh, afternoons will be measured out – Measured out, measured with – Coffeespoons and T. S. Eliot.” “Afternoons and Coffeespoons” – Crash Test Dummies
Pop Cultural Allusion References famous people who have existed in pop culture Includes sampling other people’s music, works, etc
Pop Cultural Allusions “Life of the party And she swears that she’s artsy But you could distinguish Miles from Coltraine” “Comfortable” – John Mayer
Allusion in songs “That you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles, and my Daddy said, ‘Stay away from Juliet’…” (Taylor Swift) What type of allusion?
Allusion in songs… I’ve heard there was a secret chord That David played and it pleased the Lord But you don’t really care for music, do you? What type of allusion?
Dear mama don't cry, Your baby boy's doin' good Tell the homies I'm in heaven and it ain't got hoods Seen a show with Marvin Gaye last night It had me shook Drinking peppermint schnapps with Jackie Wilson and Sam Cook Then some lady named Billie Holiday sang Sittin there kickin it with Malcolm till the day game What type of allusion?
ALLUSION? “I met this girl, when I was ten years old And what I loved most she had so much soul“I met this girl, when I was ten years old And what I loved most she had so much soul” “I Used to Love Her” – Common (1994) “I met this girl when I was 3 years old And what I loved most she had so much soul“I met this girl when I was 3 years old And what I loved most she had so much soul” “Homecoming” – Kanye West (2008)