An allusion involves referencing or making a brief, indirect reference to a person, place, event, or thing that is outside the text. It is up to the reader to make a connection to the subject being mentioned. Allusions can be direct or indirect, and are often used to add complexity and depth to a narrative, to create a sense of familiarity or nostalgia, or to establish a connection between the author and the reader.
Examples of allusion:
“She had a smile that could light up a room, like the Mona Lisa” – In this example, the allusion to the famous painting creates a vivid image of the woman’s smile, emphasizing its beauty and enigmatic quality.
“It was a day that would live in infamy” – In this famous quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the allusion to the “day of infamy” creates a sense of gravity and historical significance.
“I am the Walrus” – In the Beatles’ song “I Am the Walrus,” the allusion to Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass” adds a whimsical and surreal quality to the lyrics.
“The winter of our discontent” – In William Shakespeare’s play “Richard III,” the famous line “Now is the winter of our discontent” is an allusion to the end of the Wars of the Roses, creating a sense of political upheaval and instability.