20+ Allusion Examples – PDF

In order to keep your writing more interesting and more easily understandable, you have to find ways to relate your words to your readers. The output of you present after your writing process must at least relatable or understandable to your audience, otherwise it will all be a waste. In that case, you must find other ways or styles of writing that can help you convey your message in a more unique way.

Although you have a dominant writing style you are quite used of, adding other styles into the mix will only help make your output more interesting. Sprinkling unique styles and ways of writing in your output can help make your message clearer and understandable to your readers. And if that is the case, the purpose and goal of your output, whether it is meant to inform, educate, entertain, etc. will be met. allusion examples

What is an Allusion?

As mentioned earlier, you have to find meaningful and effective ways to improve your overall writing output. Although you have already practiced a certain style, you still have to incorporate different techniques to make sure you have the best output. With that said, figures of speech or figurative language is important. Figures of speech are words or phrases that help the writer make his/her point in a non-literal sense for rhetorical or vivid effect.

With that in mind, an excellent type of figurative language is called an allusion. Allusion is a figure of speech that allows the writer to make an implied or indirect reference to a person, event, or thing or to a part of another text. This means that allusions makes the author capable of indirectly refer to something that is presumably known to everyone, specifically the target audience. Allusions make it easier for the author to relate what he/she is trying to point out through referencing known knowledge.

Allusion comes from the Latin word allusio that means “a play on words” or “game” and was derived from the Latin word alludere, meaning “to play around” or “to refer to mockingly.” With that, you can easily understand what is an allusion and what it is for. Allusion is basically a play with words that will help you make your output more interesting and even easily to catch up on. Since you use an allusion to refer it to known knowledge, it becomes relatable to your audience. Thus, allusion is an effective way to help you get your point across creatively, efficiently and effectively.

It can also be used as a direct and straightforward way for you to enhance your text through giving further meaning. With its flexibility, it can also be used to make complex sense to insert ironic or sarcastic remarks by comparing one thing to something that is dissimilar. However, as time progresses so does allusion; meaning, it can reveal the subconscious assumptions and biases of both the author and readers. Thus, an allusion is a useful and effective way of spicing up your writing output through indirect references in order to enhance and add complex yet understandable sense to your text.

Allusion Notes Example

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Allusion Practice Worksheet Example

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Allusion Study Guide Example

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Allusion Handout Example

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Allusions PowerPoint Example

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Allusions in Songs Example

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Types of Allusion

As you know by now, allusion is a word or phrase that allows you to indirectly refer to a person, event, thing, etc. in order to make relate your idea or add further meaning, and so on to your text. With this is  mind, before you start using allusion in your write-ups, you need to know about what type of allusion is perfect fro certain instances. Hence, a list of the different types of allusion is listed below:

1. Biblical Allusion

As the name would suggest, a biblical allusion is taken from or based on the texts of the Bible. The indirect references you add to your write-up that can be traced back to what is written in the Bible is automatically a biblical allusion. Religious indirect references are also considered as biblical allusions. Here are some examples:

  • He was a good samaritan yesterday when he helped the lady start her car.
  • It’s been raining so long that pretty soon we’re going to need an arc.
  • She turned the other cheek after she was cheated out of a promotion.
  • This place is like a Garden of Eden.

2. Literary Allusion

Same as the biblical allusion, literary allusion indirectly refers to known literary works. However, this can only be effective when the literary you are trying to refer to are known to your readers; otherwise, it will just cause misunderstanding. Therefore, literary allusions are words or phrases from famous or common literary works that you use in order to make more sense to your text. Here are some examples for literary allusion:

  • Are you sure you didn’t eat the last cookie? Your nose is growing.
  • My friend ran as fast as he can to get home, he has Cinderella’s curfew.
  • He was a real Romeo with the ladies.
  • Pizza is his Achilles’ heel.

3. Historical Allusion

Simply put, a historical allusion refers to past historical events. When used in your write-ups you have to be creative since past historical events can either be good or bad, you have to somehow includes hints or effectively weave through your words in order to say what you mean. Since basically everyone knows a thing or two about world history, this can be effective when used properly in your write-up. Listed below are some examples of a historical allusion:

  • There’s a civil war going on in my family regarding what to do during the summer.
  • The current President acts like that much hated German dictator.
  • Keeping a tight budget felt like living through the Great Depression.
  • She’s the Mother Theresa of the group.

4. Mythological Allusion

One of the common type of allusion is the mythological allusion. A lot of mythological books has been published so far, therefore, it is a commonly studied or field of interest for people. When used in your write-up, using mythological allusion means that you get indirect references form those books in order to get your point across. Here are few examples of mythological allusions:

  • She ran faster than Hermes.
  • The boy exhibited the strength of Hercules.
  • The winner for Miss Universe was of Venus’ likeness.
  • She’s like Medusa, you don’t want to mess with her.

5. Pop Culture Allusion

This allusion is an indirect reference to a person, place, or event within a specific community or culture. However, in this type of allusion various types are also use for the purpose of pop culture. This means that various allusions are used to produce more meaningful and witty outputs. Some of examples of pop culture allusions are found in current pop songs you hear on the radio. Like that of Taylor Swift’s songs Love Story where a an indirect reference to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was made.

Allusion Reference Guide Example

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Allusions Worksheet Example

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Allusions Guide Example

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Recognizing Allusions Worksheet Example

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Biblical Motifs and Allusion Example

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Matching Up Allusions Worksheet Example

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How to Analyze Allusion

Although allusions can be easily spotted or identified given that you know quite a lot about various topics or that you can easily comprehend that it is in fact an allusion, analyzing what it means or what it is trying to say is another story. Toe help you understand and interpret allusions better, here is a step-by-step guide in analyzing allusions:

1. Read the text to determine if there is usage of allusion

You can only determine if an allusion referring to place, time, religion, myth, or text if you read through the whole sentence or may be even paragraph. In order to pinpoint the allusion in the text, you have to thoroughly read through it; otherwise, the allusion will only fly over your head and you will not be able to determine what it is referring to and what it means. When you are able to determine if there is an allusion, you will also know what it refers to, that way you will know what you need to analyze and how to interpret it.

2. Identify what the allusion is indirectly referencing

Given that you have thoroughly read through the text, you were able to determine that allusion was used. The next step to analyzing it is to identify what the allusion is alluding to or what is it referencing to. As mentioned, being able to identify what the allusion is referring to will help you understand what message the writer is trying to convey. With that in ind, you need to be able to think about our knowledge of myth, religion, place, or history in order to clearly get the point the text is trying to make.

3. Determine what the allusion is conveying

Now that you know that there is an allusion in the text and have an understanding as to what the allusion is referring to, you immediately began to process what the allusion is trying to mean. Since allusion is an indirect reference, you have to give yourself time to process it; allusions are not to be taken literally. Understanding the coherence of a sentence is relevant when you want to understand the whole context of what you are reading; thus, it is important to determine what the allusion is trying to convey in order to understand the entirety of the text/s.

4. Write about it in a T.E.E.L structure

With your knowledge about the allusion that was used in the text, you can begin the processes of making a presentation that will inform others about the allusion and how it was used. You have to present the technique the writer used in incorporating the allusion into the text, what it means and how it connects to an argument. An effective structure to use in this case is called the T.E.E.L structure. The acronym stands for:

  • Technique: The technique used in the example
  • Example: The example
  • Effect: Your explanation of the effect of this technique and how it develops meaning
  • Link: An explanation of how this example supports your argument.

As it would suggest, you follow the structure in order to present the technique used i.e what type of allusion was used, the example of the allusion that was used, the effect it had on the context of the text, and lastly how it links to the argument or hypothesis you are trying to prove.

Greek Allusions in Everyday Life Example

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Literary Quotations and Allusions Usage Guide Example

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Allusions and Cultural References Example

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Analyzing Translated Allusions Example

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Allusions and Reflections Example

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Historical Allusions Example

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List of Commonly Used Allusion

As they say experience is the best teacher, but in this case examples of an allusion will be most effective. Through skimming through a lit of examples will give you a better idea as to what is an allusion is and how it has been or could be used. Thus, here is a list of commonly used allusions along with their definitions that you can refer to:

Mythological Allusion

  • Achilles’ heel – a weakness a person may have. Achilles was invulnerable, except for his heel (achilles tendon).
  • Adonis – a handsome younger man; Aphrodite loved him.
  • Apollo – a physically perfect male; the God of music and light, Apollo was known for his physical beauty.
  • Cassandra – a person who continually predicts misfortune, but often is not believed.
  • Erotic – of or having to do with sexual passion or love. Eros was the Greek god of love.
  • Harpy – a predatory person or nagging woman. Comes from “harpy,” a foul creature that was part woman, part bird.
  • Helen – symbol of a beautiful woman; from Helen of Troy.
  • Morphine – an alkaloid used to relieve pain and induce sleep. Morpheus was a god that could easily change shape.
  • Muse – a creature of inspiration. The daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, and divine singers that presided over thought in all its forms.
  • Narcissism – being in love with one’s own self-image. Named for Narcissus, a handsome young man who despised love, but fell in love with himself instead.
  • Odyssey – a long journey. Named for Odysseus, a character in The Odyssey, by Homer. Odysseus makes his long journey back from the Trojan War.
  • Pandora’s Box – Something that opens the door for bad occurrences, opened by someone known for curiosity. Named for Pandora, who opened a box of human ills.
  • Phoenix – a symbol of immortality or rebirth. Named after a long bird that consumed itself in fire, then rose renewed from the flame to start another long life.
  • Psyche – the human soul, self, the mind. Named after Psyche, a maiden who, after undergoing many hardships, reunited with her love.
  • Pygmalion – someone who tries to fashion someone into the person he desires. Comes from a myth adapted into a play by George Bernard Shaw.
  • Sibyl – a witch or sorceress; a priestess who had the gift of prophecy.
  • Tantalize – from King Tantalus, who reigned on Mt. Sipylus, and who was condemned to a river but couldn’t eat the beautiful food around him.
  • Titanic – grand and enormous. Named after Tityus, the son of Zeus and Elara, whose body covered nearly two acres.
  • Volcanoes – originated from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

Literary Allusion

  • Babbitt – a self-satisfied person concerned chiefly with business and middle-class ideals, like material success. Comes from Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.
  • Cinderella – one who gains affluence or recognition after being treated poorly.
  • Don Juan – a libertine, profligate, a man obsessed with women.
  • Don Quixote – someone overly idealistic to the point of being unrealistic. From the Cervantes character in The Man of La Mancha, by Dale Wasserman and Mitch Leigh.
  • Frankenstein – anything that threatens or destroys its creator. From Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.
  • Jekyll and Hyde – a capricious person with two sides to his personality. From the novel of the same name.
  • Lothario – used to describe a man who seduces women. From The Fair Penitent, by Nicholas Rowe.
  • Scrooge – a bitter and/or greedy person. From Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
  • Svengali – a person with an irresistible hypnotic power; from 1984, by George Mauriers.

Biblical Allusion

  • Absolom – a son who brings heartache to his father.
  • Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end, from a quote in Revelations.
  • Daniel – one known for wisdom and accurate judgment.
  • David and Bathsheba – represents a big sin. From King David’s affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah.
  • Eye of the Needle – a very difficult task. From the historic narrow gateways into cities, called “the needle.”
  • Goliath – a large person. From the giant from the Philistine city of Gath, slain by David.
  • Ishmael – one who is cast out as being unworthy.
  • Job – one who suffers a great deal, but remains faithful.
  • Jonah – one who brings bad luck.
  • Judas – a traitor.
  • Original Sin – the idea that all men are innately sinful as a result of Adam and Eve’s fall.
  • Prodigal Son – a wasteful son who disappoints his father.
  • Samson and Delilah – a treacherous love story.
  • Scapegoat – one that is made an object of blame for others.
  • Solomon – an extremely wise person.

Historical Allusion

  • Attila – barbarian, rough leader; King of the Huns from 433-453 A.D..
  • Berserk – destructively or frenetically violent, from mental upset.
  • Boycott – to act together in abstaining from using a specific item. From Charles C. Boycott, who refused to charge lower rents, and his staff boycotted.
  • Canopy – an overhanging protection or shelter, to cover.
  • Casanova – a man who is amorous to women; based on the Italian adventurer.
  • Chauvinist – one who has a militant devotion to and glorification to country or gender; Nicolas Chauvin.
  • El Dorado – a place of reputed wealth; from the legendary city in South America.
  • Machiavellian – characterized by expedience, deceit and cunning; after Niccolo Machiavelli.
  • McCarthyism – modern witch hunt, the practice of publicizing accusations without evidence; after Joseph McCarthy.
  • Nostradamus – fortune teller; (1503-66) French physician and astrologer who wrote a book of rhymed prophecies.
  • Stonewall – hinder or obstruct by evasive, delaying tactics from Stonewall Jackson.
  • Thespian – having to do with the theater or acting; from Thespis, an attic poet and father of Greek tragedy.
  • Uncle Sam – government of people of the United States; derived from Uncle Sam, a business man in the 1900s.

Analyzing Allusions Worksheet Example

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Logic and Discovery of Textual Allusion Example

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Why Use Allusion?

Although allusion can be useful in expressing your thought, it can be hard to flawlessly and effectively incorporate it into your writing. The thing with allusions is that when not used properly it can change the meaning of a sentence of a whole text. But with this challenge, why should you use allusions in your writings? Here are some of the reasons why you should use allusions:

  • Build a stronger connection to your audience.
  • It shows your knowledge about topics aside from what you are writing.
  • It adds meaning and symbolism.
  • It is flexible; it can be used in various types of writing styles.
  • Adds meaningful imagery for the picture you are trying to paint.
  • It adds validity to claims or argument you are trying to prove.
  • It pays homage to the people you have taken inspiration from.
  • Allows you to include recommendations for other literature seamlessly.
  • Gives your audience a sense of pride when they get what you mean.
  • It demonstrates your prowess when it comes to writing.

Conclusion

As you may know by now, allusion is just another way to enhance your writing. Not that there is something wrong with writing an straightforward, no nonsense manner, but you still have to try new ways to engage and entertain your readers. With that in mind, it is important to use other ways or measures to ensure that your style of writing stays unpredictable and exciting for your reader/s. This is where allusion and other figurative language comes to play, literally, since most of them plays with words to enhance or add more meaning to your texts.

Allusion is a great way for you to let your readers think and ponder about what you are trying to convey. At the same time, it is a great way for your to improve your technique in flawlessly incorporating allusion into your text. Although there allusion is indirect it can still convey your actual message if you provide the right surrounding context. Thus, allusion is a useful tool to improve your overall output. We hope you learned about allusions through the discussions in this article.

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