11 Cultural Allusion Examples :What, Why, Where, How,When To Use


Allusion is all about referencing any person, place, event, historical, cultural aspect in indirect method. Cultural allusion is indirect reference or hint to any cultural aspect. Here are cultural allusion examples below

  1. You really cook tasty food and it reminds me about Draupadi.
  2. Fried potatoes are my Achilles’ heel.
  3. Our first boy behaves like he is the Einstein of not only our class but of our nation.
  4. The arrow of love provokes every young generation to go forward towards building family.
  5. My brother can impress any girl as he looks like Adonis.
  6. Your mother behaves like she is a Helen of Troy.
  7. You must behave according to your age and looks like a Babbit.
  8. Arjun focused like a n eye of the needle to crack the goal and marry draupadi.
  9. You must control your nature of behaving like Don Juan.
  10. Open the pandoras box and you will receive the best surprise of your life.
  11. Don’t try to behave like the mother of our family.

1. You really cook tasty food and it reminds me about Draupadi.

Explanation – Here, the word ‘Draupadi’ is creating allusion which actually refers to a person who is very good in cooking food.

2. Fried potatoes are my Achilles’ heel.

Explanation – Here, the word ‘Achilles’ heel’ is creating allusion which actually refers to the hidden meaning ‘particular weakness to any object of any particular person’.

3. Our first boy behaves like he is the Einstein of not only our class but of our nation.

Explanation – Here, the word ‘Einstein’ is creating allusion about a particular person who is famous for his IQ.

4. The arrow of love provokes every young generation to go forward towards building family.

Explanation – Here, the phrase ‘The arrow of love’ is creating allusion about a particular culturally renowned person ‘Cupid’. Cupid is famous for hitting heart of single person with an arrow of love and make them ready to mingle.

5. My brother can impress any girl as he looks like Adonis.

Explanation – Here, word ‘Adonis’ has been used to create an allusion which actually means ‘a handsome young man’.  

6. Your mother behaves like she is a Helen of Troy.

Explanation – Here, word ‘Helen’ has been used to create an allusion about a renowned person ‘Helen of Troy’ who is famous for her beauty.

7. You must behave according to your age and looks like a Babbit.

Explanation – Here, word ‘Babbit’ has been used to create an allusion about a person who is a self-satisfied person. That particular self-satisfied person always anxious about material achievement and middle-class ideals.

8. The work which Arjun did is like an eye of the needle to crack the goal and marry draupadi.

Explanation – Here, word phrase ‘an eye of the needle’ which means ‘a difficult task’ has been used to create an allusion about a famous event of ‘Mahabharata’.

9. You must control your nature of behaving like Don Juan.

Explanation – Here, word, Don Juan has been used to create an allusion which actually means ‘a flamboyant , profligate man who is obsessed with women’.

10. Open the pandoras box and you will receive the best surprise of your life.

Explanation – Here, word phrase ‘Pandora’s box’ is in use hint about an event which reminds us about culture that all bad deeds have their bad consequences. The word phrase ‘Pandora’s box reminds us that we must be concerned about our own doings.

11. Don’t try to behave like the mother of our family.

Explanation – Here, word ‘mother’ is in use to state that a mother of the family fulfils needs of each and every person of the family. Here, the speaker uses the word phrase ‘mother of the family’ to refer to a person who behaves like she can take care about the family but actually can’t.

FAQs about ‘Cultural Allusion’ –

What is cultural allusion?

Cultural allusion is all about referencing any well renowned cultural aspect in indirect way. The term allusion has its origin in the Latin word ‘allusionem’. We must not forget that we use cultural allusion with the expectation that the listener will understand the meaning of the hint.

Example – You should not look like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders as we all are there for you to take care of expenses of your college.

Explanation – Here, the reference of allusion is to the ‘Atlas’.

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Why to use cultural allusion?

We should use cultural allusion to refer or to give hint about any cultural person, cultural place, cultural event, cultural organization etc. We must keep in mind that the addressed person must be aware about the allusion to which the speaker is intend to.

Example – It is looking so weird to see you behaving like Raja Harishchandra.

Explanation – Raja Haishchandra is part of Indian culture. The respective person is famous for donation. Here, the allusion has been created to refer someone who loves to donate.

How to use cultural allusion?

We can use cultural allusion by referring to any renowned cultural person, cultural event, cultural organization etc. We must not say the detail of the actual cultural allusion, rather just to give hint. Cultural allusions are normally run through generation to generation via verbal teaching.

Example – We must not feel like we are living in Ayodhya.

Explanation – Here, allusion is all about Raja Ramachandra. Ramchandra is part of Indian culture. Ayodhya Nagari is famous for peace loving kingdom. Instead of detail description, the speaker spoke only one word ‘Ayodhya’ to create the cultural allusion.

Where to use cultural allusion?

We can use cultural allusion in the situation where we need to give hint about any of the following.

First, to give hint about any cultural renowned person.

Second, to give hint about any cultural renowned place.

Third, to give hint about any cultural renowned event.

Fourth, to give hint about any cultural renowned character.

Fifth, to give hint about any cultural renowned organization.

Example – It seems you never learn to bow in front of elders.

Explanation – Here, one allusion has been created in an ironical way. ‘Bow in front of elders’ is an allusion which actually means to show respect to our elders. In the above mentioned sentence, the speaker is actually ironically criticizing the addressed person about nature of second person.

When to use cultural allusion?

We can use cultural allusion when we don’t want to elaborate the actual meaning which we want to state, rather to give only the hint about the hidden meaning.  It is expected that the addressed person will understand the meaning which we actually want to state by the respective hint.

Example – Why you have dressed so well to look like Venus?

Explanation – Here, the allusion ‘Venus’ has been used as hint to refer Venus, the goddess of beauty.

Conclusion

Cultural allusion helps a writer to state actual meaning of the writing without any direct statement. But we must keep in mind that the listener must be able minded to understand the allusion. Allusions can be used for cultural reference, historical reference, mythological reference etc.

Arpita Bose Roy

Hey! I am Arpita Bose Roy. My qualifications are M.A. in English with  B. Ed. in both general education and special education. I have 2 years of experience as a "language analyst" at IIT Kharagpur and 4 years of experience as an "Academic Content Developer" at IIT Kharagpur. Currently, I am working as an academic writer at Lambdageeks. Let's connect through LinkedIn-https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/arpita-bose-roy-0aa32553

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