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Home » Interpreting and Analyzing Allusions in Literature – Figurative Language

Interpreting and Analyzing Allusions in Literature – Figurative Language


Allusions are a type of figurative language that impact tone and meaning in literature. Students will learn how to identify, interpret, and analyze allusions as they are used in literature. An allusion is a reference to a person, event, place, work of art, or work of literature in a text. Commonly in literature, writers allude to Roman or Greek mythology, the Bible, Shakespearean plays, fairy tales, history, and culture. These references are typically brief and indirect, so they can be challenging to identify. With this lesson, students will be exposed to over 30 examples of commonly used allusions to build their background knowledge.

Included in the Powerpoint lesson:

  • the definition of an allusion with examples
  • how to interpret allusions with examples
  • how to identify allusions that you don’t know the meaning to
  • the purpose of a writer using allusions in literature

Also in this resource is a practice activity that consists of 32 practice sentences which all include allusions. Students must identify the allusion, determine its origin, and explain the figurative meaning as it applies to the sentence. (Answer key included)

  • This practice activity is great for substitute plans because it will keep students busy and refreshed on allusions.
  • This resource can be administered in person or used with distance learning.