Study Guide

Crazy Rich Asians Allusions

By Kevin Kwan

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical References

  • Bernard-Henri Lévy (2.5.34)
  • Charles Dickens (2.6.2)
  • Somerset Maugham (3.13.69)
  • John Morgan, Debrett's New Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners (P.7)
  • Almanach de Gotha Limited, Almanach de Gotha (P.7):
    • Originally published in the late 18th Century, the Alamanch de Gotha catalogues the genealogies of noble families in Europe. A new publisher acquired the rights to resume publishing in 1989 after a hiatus since World War Two.
  • King James Bible (1.2.5)
  • Margaret Wise Brown, Bonsoir Lune (Goodnight Moon), (1.9.1)
  • Edgar Allan Poe, "Annabel Lee" (1.16.90): While the reference isn't explicit, Araminta's mom's name is the title of a Poe poem
  • J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1.17.53)
  • Brothers Grimm, "The Twelve dancing Princesses" (2.5.1)
  • Charles Perrault, "Sleeping Beauty (2.13.22)
  • C. S. Forester, Lieutenant Hornblower (2.15.1)
  • Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream (2.15.1)
  • Herman Melville, Billy Budd (2.15.1)
  • Knut Hamsun, August (2.15.1)
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (3.15.62)
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (2.5.4): 
    • A reference to the Mad Hatter's tea party

Historical References

  • King George IV (P.7)
  • Burma/Myanmar (1.2.23):
    • Under military rule after its independence from Britain, Burma became Myanmar in 1989.
  • Japanese occupation of Singapore during World War Two (1.7.22)
  • Princesse de Lamballe (1.15.4)
  • Aga Khan (1.9.10)
  • "Pulled a Tiananmen" (1.10.9):
    • Referencing the military suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
  • Imelda Marcos (1.12.4)
  • Queen of Sheba (1.13.41)
  • Bolshevik Revolution (1.15.18)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India (2.2.39)
  • Bhumibol, King of Thailand (2.2.76)
  • J.P. Morgan, the banker (2.2.152)
  • Princess Diana's death (2.14.6)
  • Pre-Communist Havana, Cuba (2.16.14)
  • Wedding of Consuelo Vanderbilt to the Duke of Marlborough, 1895 (3.4.67)
  • Marie Antoinette (3.5.4)
  • Marie de' Medici's arrival in Marseilles (3.5.20)
  • Queen Nefertiti (3.7.4)
  • Pulau Hantu—Ghost Island (3.8.5)
  • Grand Duchess Zoya (3.8.16)
  • China's One-Child Policy (3.20.19)

Pop Culture References

  • Calvin Trillin, New Yorker article (1.1.10)
  • Joan Collins (1.9.10)
  • Princess Rosario of Bulgaria (1.9.10)
  • Sir Paul McCartney (1.9.12)
  • Fortune Asia's "Hong Kong's Top Ten Richest" (1.10.11)
  • Xanadu (1.10.14)
  • The English Patient (1.11.10)
  • Wong Kar-wai filmmaker (1.11.35)
  • Gordon Gekko (1.11.46)
  • Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place" (1.11.66)
  • Popular Mechanics (1.13.1)
  • Penthouse (1.14.11)
  • Colin Firth (1.14.17)
  • Alexander von Humboldt (1.15.6)
  • Clark Gable (1.15.12)
  • Millicent Rogers (1.15.15)
  • Pocahontas (1.15.23)
  • Grace Kelly (1.15.25)
  • Fortune Asia (1.16.21)
  • Astor, Trump, Vanderbilt (1.16.49)
  • Venus de Milo (1.16.55)
  • Kristin Scott Thomas (1.17.22)
  • London Times (1.17.47)
  • Forbes "Asia Rich List" (1.18.14)
  • Katherine Hepburn (1.18.54)
  • Lang Lang (2.1.15)
  • Merchant Ivory films (2.2.31)
  • Hieronymus Bosch (2.2.92)
  • Rupert and Wendi Murdoch (2.2.108)
  • Tilda Swinton (2.2.133)
  • Catherine Deneuve (2.4.20)
  • Elizabeth Taylor (2.4.28)
  • Princes of Wales (2.4.84)
  • Zoolander (2.5.21)
  • Running of the bulls in Pamplona (2.8.40)
  • Jacqueline Kennedy (2.8.50)
  • American Vogue magazine (2.8.53)
  • Audrey Hepburn (2.8.71)
  • Greenpeace (2.9.28)
  • Sylvester Stallone (2.9.99)
  • Rambo (2.9.129)
  • Vogue China (2.10.44)
  • Condé Nast Traveler (2.11.1)
  • The Beatles (2.16.27)
  • Hillary Clinton-esque pantsuit (2.18.10)
  • Battlestar Galactica (2.18.28)
  • CSI: Miami (2.18.99)
  • Beijing Olympics opening ceremony (3.1.35)
  • "God is in the details," said by Mie van der Rohe (3.2.1)
  • Duke of Edinburgh (3.2.3)
  • Architectural Digest (3.2.6)
  • French Vogue (3.2.6)
  • Partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach (3.2.37)
  • Felix Mendelssohn (3.2.37)
  • Lady Gaga (3.2.37)
  • Frida Kahlo bun (3.2.52)
  • Tim Paulson, American economist (3.2.63)
  • Town & Country (3.3.55)
  • Sultan of Brunei (3.4.2)
  • Duchess of Alba (3.4.25)
  • Greta Garbo (3.4.29)
  • Vienna Boys Choir (3.4.61)
  • King Hassan of Morocco (3.4.62)
  • Michael Nyman's "Prospero's Magic" (3.4.64)
  • Charlie Siem, virtuoso violinist (3.4.65)
  • "Theme from Out of Africa" (3.4.65)
  • Botticelli's Primavera (3.5.20)
  • Sultana of Borneo (3.5.38)
  • Jean Seberg's hairstyle (3.5.87)
  • Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast (3.5.91)
  • "Besame Mucho" (3.7.2)
  • David Bowie and his iconic sense of style (3.7.12)
  • Elton John and his iconic sense of style (3.7.13)
  • Steve Jobs (3.7.22)
  • "Welcome to Fantasy Island!" from Fantasy Island (3.7.30)
  • Cirque du Soleil (3.7.42)
  • Barbara Streisand (3.8.41)
  • Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" (3.8.44)
  • Aaron Kwok (3.8.47)
  • Cleopatra (3.8.65)
  • B-52s "Love Shack" (3.8.72)
  • Cai Guo-Qiang (3.8.104)
  • Brancusi (3.9.8)
  • Downton Abbey (3.10.25)
  • South China Morning Post (3.12.34)
  • James Dean (3.13.60)
  • "Ballade pour Adeline" (3.14.1)
  • Apocalypse Now (3.15.83)
  • Hiroshi Sugimoto (3.16.2)
  • Iron Chef (3.16.18)
  • Mad Men (3.16.21)
  • Damien Hirst (3.16.48)
  • "Pass It On" hymn (3.17.36)
  • Botticelli's Venus (3.17.36)
  • Henry Blodget (3.17.63)