Allusion: a passing reference to historical or fictional characters, places or events or to other works that the writer assumes the reader will recognize. Allusions to the Bible and to William Shakespeare works are common because of they enjoy a cast readership. May refer to mythology, connotation, evoke emotions, convey information, establish character, mood and setting.
Example: In The Skin of the Lion, Michael Ondaatje’s character Caravaggio is dark and secretive, just like his profession of a thief. The allusion of the thief Caravaggio in, In the Skin of the Lion is compared to the painter Caravaggio who live a trouble life from 1573 – 1610. In the early 1600’s Caravaggio became notorious for his behavior. He began to kill people and fight people along his journey to Rome. The allusion comes in mostly in book three, Caravaggio. The historical references through the book directly indicate Caravaggio in the 1600’s: “A tarrer if roads, a house-builder, a painter, a thief-yet he was invisible to all around him”(199). Caravaggio was only well known in Rome up until his death, for the rest of the world he was an unknown. Michael Ondaatje writes: “ The police were here. Scomparso. Not that you escaped but that you disappeared.”(199). Caravaggio escapes the prison In the skin of the Lion and in the 1600’s when he escapes the police for murdering a man. Caravaggio flees the scene, heading to Rome to escape the police or heading to Toronto to see his wife. The allusion of Caravaggio is evident throughout the third book of Caravaggio, references of the life of the painter Caravaggio.
“Allusion”. Morner, Kathleen and Ralph Rausch. Dictionary of Literary Terms. NTC Publishing, 1991. Print
Ondaatje, Michael. In the Skin of the Lion. Tornont: Vintage Canada, 1987. Print.
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