Define literary allusion and say what kind of allusions are in The Key To Rebecca by Ken Follett.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An allusion is a literary reference to a well known person, event, piece of literature, etc., that embodies a entire concept. The reason allusions are used is that they form a sort of shorthand code for those who know the person, place, or thing alluded to making it easier for an author or speaker to make a meaningful point. For instance, if I use a famous person allusion and say a young man is like Schwarzenegger as Conan, those who know the movie Conan will immediately have a meaningful image in mind that saves a lot of detailed description. Or if I use a literary allusion and say that a couple's love story was a 21st century Romeo and Juliet, you know that they had a passionate love that didn't end so well. Or if I use an historical allusion and say that someone is a real King Arthur, you know that the person is the model of virtue, courage, goodness and justice. In The Key to Rebecca, the story is set in Egypt and Follett employs historical allusions throughout the story to make his points.

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