Allusion

Definition:
An allusion is a figure of speech whereby the author refers to a subject matter such as a place, event, or literary work by way of a passing reference. It is up to the reader to make a connection to the subject being mentioned.

Example:
It’s no wonder everyone refers to Mary as another Mother Teresa in the making; she loves to help and care after people everywhere, from the streets to her own friends.

In the example the author uses the mention of Mother Teresa to indicate the sort of qualities that Mary has.

One thought on “Allusion”

  1. Allusion uses a reference of historical events, art, music, prose, or other known thing to build meaning for the text’s situation or event. T.S. Elliot uses it a lot in the Wasteland.

    If you read the whole poem, you will see many references to history and art, Greek mythology etc. all used to represent the themes of the poem itself.

    “April is the cruelist month.” This is metaphor, similar to allusion. “King William Street,
    To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
    With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
    There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson!
    You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 70

    That corpse you planted last year in your garden,”

    There are allusions to Saint Mary Woolnoth, Stetson, ships of Mylea. You need to know about these, places people, and events. (Which for those who study Elliot had trouble)

    A simple example, She behaved like Juliette and died.” Allusion requires the reader to know a variety of things in music, arts, theater, history in order to gain meaning from the text they’re reading.

    For my example, you’d have to know of a famous Juliette that died, Romeo and Juliette. She didn’t just die, she killed herself after her plan failed to escape with Romeo. The she, behaved like Juliette – the reader would have to know the play, understand the character Juliette, and what happened.

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