By. Tonya Trimpe


"Is referencing something within work to something outside of the work that is well-known statement, person, place, event, literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or popular culture."


Writers use allusions in their writings to help their readers or audience or understanding parts of their writing they feel are hard for their readers or audience to understand. They do this by connecting what they are saying to something that is already well-known to the readers or audience.

Examples and explanations:

  • “I was surprised his nose was not growing like Pinocchio’s.” This statement is referencing the story of Pinocchio about how his nose would grow whenever he would tell a lie. It is from The Adventures of Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi.

  • The writer of the movie Easy A used Allusions. The movie references the book the Scarlet Letter. In the movie she wore an A like in the book. It also referenced “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Say Anything”, and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” They did this by showing clips of each movie and using the music from the original films.

  • Her smile is like her moms is not an Allusion but her mom is not well-known to everyone, not everyone knows what her moms smile is like. But an Allusion is, "Her smile is like the Mona Lisa's." Everyone knows what the Mona Lisa looks like, so they can picture what the girls smile looks like.


  • Beers, G. Kylene, and Lee Odell. Holt Elements of Literature: Essentials of British and World Literature. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2005. 1181. Print.

  • Dunaway, Michele. "The Hunt for Literary Allusions." : Teachers at Work : Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus. Thinkmap, n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2013.