Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Songs: Allusions in Literature

A few weeks ago, two colleagues and I were discussing how to help our students recognize and understand allusions in literature.  I was lamenting the fact that students don't truly understand what an allusion is, as evidenced by the fact that many of them continually misuse the term allude.  For example, students will write, "William Shakespeare and Madeleine L'Engle allude to each other."  No.No.No.
One of the ladies said she used the song, "Someday We'll Know," by the New Radicals to teach this concept.  Right away, I thought of how many allusions Taylor Swift incorporates into her songs.  (If you've ever read my blog before, you know that I like to cite Taylor swift as an example of clear, concise writing.  In one line of her song, "Mine," we can make inferences about several different relationships.  "You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter."  We can make inferences about the father/daughter relationship, her relationship with herself, and her new relationship.)
Here are three videos of songs  that contain allusions.  I hope they will help students recognize allusions.  Now, getting students to dig deeper and understand why an author chose to allude to a particular work or event in history to make their point, is a different story. 

Happy reading,


  1. Thank you, Christine, for this thoughtful post. I would like to share this with the teachers I work with. Have a great Easter holiday with your family.