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by Toni Morrison

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

  • Tennessee Williams, "The Rose Tattoo" (epigraph)
  • Tar Baby, from the Uncle Remus stories (1921.32)
  • Chicken Little, children's book about the chicken who thinks that the sky is falling (1922.42)
  • Ajax, Greek hero who appears in Homer's Iliad (1922.3)

Biblical References

  • Shadrack, biblical figure who walks into a fire without being harmed.
  • St. Matthew (Prologue.2)
  • The Virgin Mary (1920.1)
  • Eva, references Eve (1920.75)
  • Ham's sons, references the belief that Africans (and hence African-Americans) are descended from Ham (1921.86)
  • Jude, similar to Judas, who betrayed Jesus; also St. Jude (1923.4)

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