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Activity Overview

Allusions are present throughout the novel, One Crazy Summer, referencing actual people, places, literature, TV, movies, music, movements, and events. These references help plunge the reader into the world surrounding Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern and the different influences all around them in 1960s America. In this activity, students will identify, research, and illustrate various allusions in the story.

Examples of Allusions in One Crazy Summer

  • Cassius Clay A.K.A. Muhammad Ali
  • Black Panthers
  • Huey P. Newton
  • Eldridge Cleaver
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Robert F. Kennedy
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Vietnam War
  • Peter Pan
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Robert Frost
  • Countee Cullen
  • William Blake
  • Homer
  • Langston Hughes
  • Malcolm X
  • The Mike Douglas Show
  • James Brown
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Bobby Hutton
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Nat King Cole
  • Shirley Temple
  • Flipper
  • Monkees
  • Jet Magazine
  • Merriam Webster Dictionary
  • Gwendolyn Brooks' "We Real Cool"
  • Oakland, CA: Magnolia St.
  • San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown
  • Brooklyn, NY: Herkimer St., Coney Island, Prospect Park, Shiloh Baptist Church

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies allusions present in One Crazy Summer (references to actual people, places, events, or works of art or literature). Illustrate instances of each allusion and write a short description below each cell.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the allusions from One Crazy Summer you wish to include and write them in the title.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this allusion using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Allusions in a Story
As we read and discuss, identify and track the different allusions that appear in the book. Look for references to real people, places, events and works of art or literature. For each allusion, create a scene and description that depicts the original meaning of the allusion, along with how it is connected to the story.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
The allusion and its depiction are historically or factually accurate. The context from the story is given in a brief summary.
The allusion and its depiction may be slightly inaccurate historically or factually. The context from the story may be missing.
The allusion and its depiction have serious errors in accuracy. The context from the story are missing, or there is no description at all.
Artistic Depictions
The art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate to both the allusion and to the work of literature. Time and care is taken to ensure that the scenes are neat, eye-catching, and creative.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be historically appropriate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. Scene constructions are neat, and meet basic expectations.
The art chosen to depict the scenes are historically inappropriate. Scene constructions are messy and may create some confusion, or may be too limited.
English Conventions
Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas are mostly organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of control over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofreading.

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