Literary allusion plays a major part in middle grade and young adult books. What is it? It's a reference in a literary work to another literary work. Here are some of my favorite examples, past and more recent:
1. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
- Ponyboy is reading Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) in English class. He and Johnny read Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) to pass time at the church. There's also Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay."
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
2. When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
- Miranda carries around a copy of A Wrinkle In Time (Madeleine L'Engle). She argues with Marcus about the specifics and possibilities of time travel.
3. One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Delphine keeps Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O'Dell) closeby and roots for Rontu to outlast those wild dogs.
Can you think of any more examples of literary allusions?