Identifying Allusions PowerPoint

UNIT #5: Lesson #1
Teaching Allusion
• Answer the following question on your
warm-up sheet: Can you decipher
what the following sentences are
– “Trust the Midas Touch” (reference to the
Midas commercial for automobiles)
– “Jared is trying to play Cupid between
Mary and Paul.”
– “I know we had a fight, but I was trying to
extend an olive branch to her.”
– “Batman told Robin that the Joker was his
– “All I did was ask a simple question, but
somehow I opened Pandora’s Box.”
Define Allusion
• Allusion is when a writer
references a place, person,
or something that happened
• This can be real or imaginary,
and may refer to anything
including mythology, history
(event or well-known person),
other pieces of writing (the
Bible, Shakespeare, fairy
tales) or even movies or pop
Define Allusion
• An allusion is like déjà vu- if
you notice it, it will seem
like something you’ve
heard about before.
• When you can interpret
the meaning of a word or
phrase, based on prior
knowledge (reference to a
story) that’s allusion!
Define Allusion
• An allusion is a type of
• The purpose of an allusion is
to allow the reader/viewer
to understand new
information, characters, plot,
setting, or other elements by
connecting it to something
already known.
Understanding Allusions
• Allusions are not to be
confused with Illusions
• In order to understand
allusions, the reader must
have prior knowledge of
literature, art, music, pop
culture, etc. So being wellread is important to
understanding allusions
Understanding Allusions
• Allusions are not references
to someone/something
only a small group of
people know.
• EXAMPLE: “His smile is
similar to my dad’s smile” is
not something well-known;
although, it is a
Example #1
• “When dad lost his job,
mom became a Scrooge,
and we almost never got
to buy anything we didn’t
absolutely need.”
• Interpret (where does it
come from?)
• Explain (what does it
Example #1 Answer
• It comes from Charles’
Dickens’ “A Christmas
Carol” and it means that
mom didn’t like to spend
Example #2
• “He was so angry I
expected him to turn green
and tear his shirt to bits by
flexing his bulging
• Interpret (where does it
come from?)
• Explain (what does it
Example #2 Answer
• It comes from Marvel
Comic’s “The Hulk” and it
means that he was
extremely angry.
Example #3
• She was a Good Samaritan
yesterday when she
helped the old man weed
his garden.
• Interpret (where does it
come from?)
• Explain (what does it
Example #3 Answer
• It comes from a story in the
Bible and it means that she
chose to be very kind.
Example #4
• “All Joseph does is talk
about himself. What a
• Interpret (where does it
come from?)
• Explain (what does it
Example #4 Answer
• It comes from the Greek
Myth about Narcissus, who
drowned himself trying to
capture the image of what
he loved, himself. This
means that Joseph is full of
himself and loves only
Modern Day Examples of Allusion
• Allusion can be found in:
Comic Strips
TV Shows
Music (yes, even Rap Music)
Allusion in TV
• TV Examples:
– The Simpsons
• Episode about “The Raven”
(reference to Edgar Allan Poe)
• Episode about “The Monkey’s
Paw” (reference to short story
by W.W. Jacobs)
– Southpark
– Family Guy
Allusion in Rap Music
• Allusion is EXTREMELY
common in rap music
• Rappers allude to just
about everything in their
lyrics, but there are several
common sources of
allusion within rap
Allusion in Rap Music
• Slavery:
– “They treat you like a slave / put chains
up on your soul and put whips up on
your back / they be lying through their
teeth, hope you slip up off your path” –
Lupe Fiasco, “Show Goes On”
– “Pyramids to cotton fields to Wrigley
Field / forgotten men who did get
killed” – Nas “Can’t Stop Us Now”
– “Maybe one day I’ll ride back to
Georgia on a train / folks round there
call me Peaches, I guess that’s my
name” – Talib Kweli, “For Women”
Allusion in Rap
• The Civil Rights Movement:
– “Stuntin’ on Martin Luther, feelin’
just like a King / guess this is what
he meant when he said that he
had a dream” – Young Jeezy, “My
– “Everybody wanna be the king
then shots ring /you laying on your
balcony with holes in your dream /
or you Malcolm X'd out, get
distracted by screams / everybody
get your hand out my jeans”
-- Jay-Z, “Most Kingz”
Allusion in Rap
• Film:
– “Career on stilts – Braveheart, no kilt / you can
hear it screaming ‘freedom’ as the beat gets
killed” – Lupe Fiasco, “Joaquin Phoenix”
Reference to film Braveheart.
• Literature
– “Mom, I love you but this trailer’s got to go / I
cannot grow old in Salem’s Lot” – Eminem,
“Lose Yourself”
• Reference to Steven King’s vampire novel
Salem’s Lot
• Sports
– “Hood phenomenon, the LeBron of rhyme /
hard to be humble when you stuntin’ on the
Jumbo-Tron” – Kanye West, “Devil in a New
• Reference to LeBron James, NBA player
Can you match these Allusions to
their true meanings?
• Word Sort Activity:
– Get in your Group
– Match the Allusion (word or
phrase) to the story that
explains the Allusion’s
Can you use your
understanding of Allusions to
write your own sentences?
• Use your Independent
Practice side of your
• Choose ten words/phrases
used in Allusions to write
your own sentences
• Look at the directions and
example BEFORE starting!
Can you find examples of
Allusion in the Real World?
• Homework:
– Find examples of Allusion in
comic strips, your
textbooks/novels, tv shows,
music lyrics, etc.
– Bring in three different
examples to class tomorrow
– Use your resources!
• iPod
• Internet (comics/lyrics)
• Newspapers/Books
Works Cited Page
• Created by: Laura Van
Leer Richardson

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