- Feb 2018
Unlike The Waste Land, Moulin Rouge!’s allusions are only rarely critical; the closest it comes to social commentary is in the use of Nirvana’s dark hymn to the ennui of consumerism, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ as the Moulin Rouge’s rich male customers enter the club.
What are the functions allusion besides layering? I think there is something important about the critical function that occurs in this use of allusion. Fitzgerald was a moralist describing the evils of capitalism and American society, so the use of Trimalchio as Gatsby is a critical allusion.
In this sense, allusion and other intertextual references ‘should be distinguished from the customary rhetorical situation in which texts are considered by artists and audience alike to be mimetic analogs or representations of real-life people, places, or things.’31By drawing attention to itself, intruding on the conventional narrative flow, systematically deployed allusion continually reminds audiences that they are dealing with an artificial construct.
Naturalism and allusion don't coincide. The Great Gatsby may be an example of this missing reality-- a sort of artificial construct of Fitzgerald's imagination with dramatic, over-top descriptions of gatsby as Trimalchio in his mansion that looks like "the world's fair." https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/chapter-5-begins-with-nick-observing-gatsys-house-436789