American Childhood Allusions

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Many of the allusions used by Annie Dillard in An American Childhood are put into the story to provide a clear cultural picture of Pittsburgh in the 1950’s. By using made of the references that she does, Dillard is able to “paint a picture” of society in the 1950’s, because she is referencing objects, places, or people that are familiar to some today, but mostly those who were alive around the 50’s or later. As well as 50’s culture references, Dillard also uses some classic American references. The first major allusions seen in the book are examples of the latter. Dillard brings up Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson in the prologue of the book while writing of pre-settled Pennsylvania, about its wildness and vast expanse…show more content…
Some of the first allusions of this kind are of popular musicians at the time, Jimmy Ryan and Zutty Singleton, and their songs. Dillard mentions that jazz music was just becoming popular at the time, and that these names were common in her household, and with her family being a very average family, these names were most likely household throughout most of the heavily inhabited parts of the United states. Another musician, even more well-known that he others she mentioned, is Frank Sinatra. He is brought up by Dillard , most likely to achieve the same effect of creating a picture in her reader's mind of what society was like at the…show more content…
The Panama Canal was a major achievement for the United States in the early 1900’s, and even during the 50’s people were still very infatuated with its existence. It was a symbol of political power for the U.S. and showed the vastness of its reach and influence. By adding a mention of Henry Frick Park, Dillard showed how the industrial captains of the time did anything they could to show their power and flaunt their money, especially in Pittsburgh, a city famous for its involvement in the industrial
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