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by Scott Westerfeld

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.

  • Garbo Mansion (1.43) is probably named after Greta Garbo, the great actress who was considered quite a looker in her day
  • When Shay makes a joke about Tally's pig mask—"So let me guess, someone blew your house down?" (3.50)—she's referencing the story of the Three Little Pigs 
  • Shay's comment "All that glitters is not hovery" (7.67) is a paraphrase of the phrase "All that glisters is not gold," which is super old (it appears in Latin) and appears in lots of poems and plays
  • Barbie dolls (10.62) are, well, Barbie dolls, which Shay knows about but Tally doesn't
  • Frankenstein's monster (26.7) is from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), and we often picture him from movies as a patchwork
  • The Hippocratic Oath is the ancient Greek oath that doctors still take promising to practice medicine ethically, named after the famous Greek physician Hippocrates

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