“A little bit of one story joins onto an idea from another,
and hey presto, . . . not old tales but new ones. Nothing
comes from nothing.”
― Salman Rushdie, Haroun And The Sea Of Stories
What do you think Mr. Rushdie means by this? Have you
ever heard the saying “Nothing is new; everything is
recycled”? Do these ideas relate? How?
SWBAT analyze the use of allusion in poetry.
Given a poem, SW correctly answer ¾ SA questions and
justify 1 in APE format.
What is an allusion?
An allusion is a reference to someone/something well
Allusions can be:
Why do allusions matter?
Wellll… in order to understand dense texts (think: stuff you’ll
read in college) you need to understand the other
ideas/works of literature/stories being referred to. It’ll be
assumed that you’ve read a few basic things, like Romeo
and Juliet, The Odyssey, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
You may hear a reference to one of these works of literature
without any explanation.
Example: The love they felt was doomed, much like Romeo
If you don’t understand the story of Romeo and Juliet, you’re
now not quite in the loop.
If you understand the back story (Romeo and Juliet
came from different families that hated each other –
think rival gangs today) and because they couldn’t be
together, they killed themselves rather than go on
without the other one.
Now: The love they felt was doomed, much like Romeo
Does it make more sense?
Background you need for our poem
THE SIRENS are a group of women (or half-bird/half-women)
that are featured in the story The Odyssey, which we will
read later this semester. To “get” the poem in class today,
you need to understand a few things.
1. The sirens are IRRESISTIBLE. Think those AXE body spray
commercials times 200.
2. The sirens are DEADLY. In some stories featuring the sirens, they
eat the men they trap. Their island is littered with bones…
3. They sing a song to men. That’s what lures them in. In The
Odyssey, the main character is given a warning, so he knows to
plug up his ears to avoid temptation. Kinda like when someone
goes on a diet and throws out all their old candy in their pantry.
John William Waterhouse
So, Who is the Siren?
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Posted by Steve M., senior writer
Great question. It’s one we kept asking ourselves during the evolution of our logo (and yes, that’s right,
a writer was involved in a logo project). We all needed to really, deeply understand for ourselves who
So, a little history.
Let’s go all the way back to 1971, to when Starbucks was first coming to be. In a search for a way to
capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots, there was a lot of poring over
old marine books going on. Suddenly, there she was: a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed
mermaid, or Siren. There was something about her – a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme
that was exactly what the founders were looking for. A logo was designed around her, and our long
relationship with the Siren began.
Over the last 40 years we’ve made some changes to that identity. Now we’re doing that again, to
keep ourselves relevant as we evolve without ever losing sight of our heritage. But the Siren has always
been there. She is at the heart of Starbucks.
As a writer, though, I can tell you that there is a lot more to her than just the design and how she looks.
This is what she means to me, and to us.
She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways,
she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead.
And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we
haven’t even imagined yet.
She means something different to every one who sees her, who knows her. For me she’s kind of the
final say on the spirit of everything I write and everything we do. Even as I’m writing this, I wonder what
she thinks. (She likes it, by the way.)
Here we are today. Our new evolution liberates the Siren from the outer ring, making her the true,
welcoming face of Starbucks. For people all over the globe, she is a signal of the world’s finest coffee –
and much more. She stands unbound, sharing our stories, inviting all of us in to explore, to find
something new and to connect with each other. And as always, she is urging all of us forward to the
next thing. After all, who can resist her?
Once you read it, highlight some of the places where
your understanding may break down.
Starting with the phrase "I don't understand...", post at
least one thing that you were confusedabout. You may
also choose to elaborate on something someone else
doesn't understand - perhaps you can help answer the
question for them.
“Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood
This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:
the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see
the song nobody knows
because anyone who had heard it
is dead, and the others can't
Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?
I don't enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical
with these two feathery maniacs,
I don't enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.
I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song
is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique
at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time
In this poem, Atwood vividly depicts her interpretation of
the Sirens’ experience with the use of powerful imagery.
Imagery is a literary element that helps create tone.
Please choose the section that you feel contains the
strongest imagery, and first write in your notes, and then
explain to a partner why it had that effect on you.
A Song with Allusion
How does this song use the same allusion?
Create our own allusion
You need to, with a partner, please create a poem (12
lines – ABAB CDCD EFEF rhyme scheme) in which you
ALLUDE to the sirens.
Be prepared to share out.
HW: Siren Song Questions in packet.
Long afloat on shipless oceans
I did all my best to smile
'til your singing eyes and fingers
Drew me loving to your isle
And you sang
Sail to me
Sail to me
Let me enfold you
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you
Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you hare when I was fox?
Now my foolish boat is leaning
Broken lovelorn on your rocks,
For you sing, 'touch me not, touch me not,
come back tomorrow:
O my heart, o my heart shies from the sorrow'
I am puzzled as the newborn child
I am troubled at the tide:
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Should I lie with death my bride?
Hear me sing, 'swim to me, swim to me, let me
Here I am, here I am, waiting to hold you
1. What is the allusion in this song?
2. What is the effect of this allusion?
3. Is the allusion timeless (consider:
song was written in 1960s)
4. What is the siren’s song here?
5. Explain your answer to 4.