 An allusion is a figure of speech that
makes a reference to, or representation
of, people, places, events, literary
work, myths, or works of art, either
directly or by implication.
 It serves as a kind of shorthand,
drawing on this outside work to
provide greater context or meaning to
the situation being written about.
 M.H.Abrams defined allusion as "a
brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a
person, place or event, or to another
literary work or passage".
 In a freer informal definition, allusion
is a passing or casual reference, an
incidental mention of something,
either directly or by implication: In the
stock market he met his Waterloo.
 Backside of a clay tablet from Pylosbearing
the motif of the Labyrinth, allusion to the
mythological fight of Theseus and the
 In literature, allusions are used to link
concepts that the reader already has
knowledge of, with concepts discussed in
the story.
 In the field of film criticism, a film-
maker's intentionally unspoken visual
reference to another film has come to
be called an homage. It may even be
sensed that real events have allusive
overtones, when a previous event is
inescapably recalled by a current one.
 "Allusion is bound up with a vital and
perennial topic in literary theory, the
place of authorial in interpretation",
William Irwin observed, in asking
"What is an allusion?" Without the
hearer or reader's comprehending the
author's intention, an allusion becomes
merely a decorative device.
 In literary terms, the main function
of allusion in poetry is that it uses a
powerful word, phrase or cultural
reference that readers should
understand in order to simply portray a
complex concept.
 Allusion is a technique used in
literature in which a literary work
references another work of literature,
work of art, historical figure, place, or
event. In general, this passing reference
is not explained by the writer, so only
readers who are familiar with the
referenced work tend to notice it.
 In discussing the richly allusive poetry
of Virgil's Georgics, R. F. Thomas distinguished six
categories of allusive reference, which are
applicable to a wider cultural sphere. These types
are :
 Casual Reference, "the use of
language which recalls a specific
antecedent, but only in a general sense"
that is relatively unimportant to the
new context;
 Single Reference, in which the hearer or
reader is intended to "recall the context of
the model and apply that context to the new
situation"; such a specific single reference in
Virgil, according to Thomas, is a means of
"making connections or conveying ideas on a
level of intense subtlety";
 Self-Reference, where the locus is in the
poet's own work;
 Corrective Allusion, where the imitation is
clearly in opposition to the original source's
 Apparent Reference ""which seems
clearly to recall a specific model but
which on closer inspection frustrates
that intention" and
 Multiple Reference or Conflation,
which refers in various ways
simultaneously to several sources,
fusing and transforming the cultural
 Allusion differs from the similar
term intertextuality in that it is an
intentional effort on the author's part.
The success of an allusion depends in
part on at least some of its audience
"getting" it. Allusions may be made
increasingly obscure, until at last they
are understood by the author alone,
who thereby retreats into a private
 I doubt if Phaethon feared more - that time
he dropped the sun-reins of his father's chariot
and burned the streak of sky we see today or if poor Icarus did - feeling his sides
unfeathering as the wax began to melt,
his father shouting: "wrong, your course is
Some kınd of
Examples :
 The cinnamon rolls were huge and golden brown,
reminiscent of the twisted buns on the sides of Princess
Leia's head.
Tracy, teaching candidate at the University of La Verne
The romance between that man and I was no Romeo and
Juliet, but we will sacrifice for each other in any situation.
Hieu Nguyen, in Grade 9
His life is a Horatio Alger story.
Harsh Gupta, in Grade 7 at Hayfield School
My brother tricked me and ran just like Road Runner.
Chris H. in Grade 7 at Lufkin Road Middle School
"I am afraid of spiders, but I'm no cowardly lion!"
from Emily in Grade 6 at Worsley School.
"The day was young and I was looking forward to the
afternoon. I was suppose to go out on a date, but my
plans were changed. All my siblings were gone, but I
had been in the house slaving like Cinderella,
scrubbing the floors on my hand and knees, washing
clothes and dishes and making everyones' beds".
from Crystal B. in Grade 11 at Oakland high
It has been very difficult for me to land the job of my
dreams to become a teacher. Sometimes I feel like I have a
huge stamp on my forehead the says 'Don Quixote'. I won't
let the job hunt defeat me, because one day I want to be
known as the Mother Teresa of education.
Luequita Oliver, graduate student at Cambridge College
The family of three sat there like the three bears eating
their porridge.
Arielle Avant in Grade 9 at Cheyenne Mountain H. S.
My friends and I were the real three stooges at Jelly Beans
because we were horsing around and pushing and shoving
each other.
Nick in Grade 7 at Lufkin Road Middle School
He ran down the alley as the many shadows stalked
him. Forced to turn a corner, he found himself faced
with more horrors. No amount of Falstaff wit could
save him now.
Nick L. in Grade 7 at Lufkin Road Middle School
"Casual and confident, the Foremost High team
started the game that was to prove their Waterloo".
from Tashena C. in Grade 11 at Foremost H.S.
"As I watched my mother sitting beside Uncle Aaron,
a fresh pang of hurt stabbed my heart, and I
remembered once again how Hamlet must've felt..."
Michelle, in Grade 8, homeschooling