Definition of Ame Alusions and Their Examples in Neil Gaiman’s Work Master of Alusions

March 3, 2021 by Essay Writer

“Ame Allusions are very common in literature. Many authors use them in their books for various reasons. But what exactly are they? How to define them and what are the most famous examples in Gaiman’s work? Is he truly the “Master of allusions”? This essay tries to find the answers to these questions, showing examples from some of his very popular works. Lets start with some theory. The Oxford English Dictionary defines allusion as “a covert, implied or indirect reference”. It’s a kind of a traditional definition which seems to be very simple (that’s good) but it’s also not very clear (not so much). Let’s find something better. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary terms describes allusion as “indirect or passing reference to some event, person, place or artistic work, the nature or relevance of which is not explained by the author but relies on the readers‘ familiarity with what is thus mentioned”. This definition hits the spot and makes this term understandable for the reader.

Enough theory! Let’s go on an adventure with Neil Gaiman. He is a very special creator of worlds. He’s not only the author of prose but he also creates the works of poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics and drama. The number of allusions in Gaiman‘s works and the variety of them is astonishing. He alludes to everything from the Bible, mythology to pop culture and rock songs lyrics. The perfect example is his book “American Gods”. Gaiman shows us that the mythology (in this case mainly Scandinavian) is not only the collection of some old tales but can be used as a base for something fresh and modern. rican Gods” tells a story of a man called Shadow. He is an ex-convict who was given a chance to take some well-paid job by mysterious Mr. Wednesday. During their journey Shadow found out that Mr.

Wednesday is Odin himself and he tries to form an ally between the Old Gods, like Loki (the Scandinavian god of mischief), Czernobog (The Slavic god of darkness), Gwydion (god from Welsh mythology), Easter (Germanic goddess of dawn), Horus (Egyptian god of the sky) and many, many more. They all have to join forces and fight against New Gods – the gods of internet, television and other modern inventions. The whole book is stuffed with allusions to multiple mythologies. As mentioned above, Neil Gaiman is also the author of comic books. If we want to find allusions we can reach for the perfect example that is a comic series “The Sandman”. It’s like a cake stuffed with the cream of allusions. The original series ran for 75 issues and there have been additional albums and spin-offs. The main protagonist – the Sandman known also as the Lord of Dreams is immortal being who controls the dreams of every living human or creature. The most famous one is the 3rd volume of the series, titled “Dream Country”. It contains 4 interesting and unconventional stories: “Calliope”, “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Façade”.

Three stories are wrapped up around ancient myths. “Calliope” tells the story of the Greek muse who was caught and imprisoned by some author who found her as a source of his inspiration. The story title in itself is an allusion. So the next one is.“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” alludes to William Shakespeare play with the same title. In the another, later album it is explained that this whole story actually was a Shakespeare’s dream which inspired him to write the play with the same title. “Façade” tells the story of Urania “Rainie” Blackwell. It’s a character from other comic book – Element Girl from the album “Metamorpho” (allusion!). She can shape her body however she wants what makes her truly immortal. In the story she’s lonely, depressed and hiding from the outside world at her home because she is tired of her never-ending existence. The story ends with her being shown how to end her life and dying happily. This story contains multiple allusions to Egyptian mythology, especially symbols and hieroglyphs scattered all over the panels. “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” is a comic album presenting the tale of a cat wandering around the world, telling other cats her own tragic story. The story is about the cat’s owners who drowned her kittens. That was the path that leads to find the Cat of Dreams.

The protagonist tries to convict other cats that if they all dream about the world where they’re the masters and people are their subjects, the Cat of Dreams will make this dream real. The reader can figure out that the Cat of Dreams is no one else but the Sandman himself but Gaiman describes this character using also some references to “Alice Adventures in Wonderland”. It’s worth to stress that all these allusions come from only one album from the Sandman’s collection. Every other album contains more of allusions and it’s only up to the reader to “decode” them. There’s a huge advantage of comic book over the regular book, though. A comic book contains pictures and they can be great transmitter of multiple types of allusions – from graphic symbols, through colors to the panels themselves that can look like some movie frames. If someone has any doubts that Neil Gaiman is the Master of Allusions they should take one of his books/comics books/scripts and try to count all the allusions. There are hundreds of them, even in his shorter works. In his single work there is enough material to write a university paper about only one aspect of it like symbolism or allusions. If the examples presented above are not enough maybe it’s time to reach for other books of the same author like “Norse Mythology” – his own rendition of Scandinavian mythology. He probably wrote this book because spreading allusions to this beautiful myths across all his works simply wasn’t enough for him. It proves that he’s really dedicated to bring back to life these myths and make them a part of modern world so the younger readers can get to know them not only by watching “Thor” from Marvel Comics. It also means that we can be sure that he didn’t say the last word when it comes to allusions in his works.

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