What are some allusions in The Great Gatsby?
One kind of allusion prevalent in The Great Gatsby is the allusion to people, places, or events of that era, or immediately preceding that era. These allusions give a richness to the novel's setting, The Roaring Twenties, a decade-long celebration of the end of World War I and also an era in which organized crime began its stranglehold on America.
Here are some examples:
Tom makes reference to a book called The Rise of the Coloured Nations (17), which is a thinly disguised allusion to a real book of the era, The Rising Tide of Color (Stoddard).
There is a reference to Gilda Gray, the star of the Ziegfield Follies (45), which was a series of Broadway productions of the era.
Wolfsheim, who is a "friend" and business associate of Gatsby's (73-75), alludes to his presence the night Herman Rosenthal, a notorious owner of gambling joints, was gunned down in a gangland killing.
These sorts of allusions run throughout the entire book, firmly planting the story in a particular era, but not seeming to limit the timelessness of its idea.