A-level English/Wise Children/References to People and Books in Wise Children

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Famous People[edit | edit source]

  • Charlie Chaplin: "Old Charlie, hung like a horse"
  • Lewis Carroll: "Lewis Carroll saw her, sent her an inscribed copy of Alice, invited her to tea and got her to slip her frock off after the crumpets"
  • Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: "Fred and Ginger," referring to the signed photos that Dora has on her mirror in her bedroom. First names are only given, shows how close they were.

Books poems[edit | edit source]

  • "What does the robin do then poor thing" is a line taken from the children's poem The North Wind Does Blow [1]
  • Dora quotes Jane Austen's line "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery" from Mansfield Park.
  • "Nobody could say the chance girls were going gently into that good night" A quote from a poem by Dylan Thomas (In reference to old age)
  • "It was a dreary time" from Coleridge's 'The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner'- " It was a weary time"

Songs[edit | edit source]

  • At several points in the novel lines from "I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Baby)" by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields are quoted:

"I can't give you anything but love, baby, That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby"

The line "Dream awhile, scheme awhile" is also quoted from this song

  • The Song "It's Only a Paper Moon" is quoted on numerous occasions. The first few lines of this song are said during the filming of 'The Dream':

"Say, it's only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea, but it wouldn't be make believe, if you believed in me" This song was originally written by Billy Rose, Harold Arlen and E.W. Harburg. The song has been performed by Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald [2]

  • "When the Moon Shines Bright on Charlie Chaplin" is sung by Grandma Chance the day that Dora and Nora are born [3]
  • Tiffany sings "My little sister Lilly is a whore in Piccadilly. And my mother is another in the Strand" during Tristram's gameshow.

This song "My Sister Lily" this is Number 150 in Paul Woodford's large collection of air force songs "Hash Hymns II" (Honolulu, Hawaii, 1994). It is sung to the melody of the song "Do Ye Ken John Peel."

  • Gorgeous George sings the patriotic song "Rose of England" [4]. The music for this song is by Ivor Novello from "Crest of the Wave" .The words from Christopher Hassall.
  • Peregine and Irish sing Finnigans Wake together drunk [5].
  • The song 'My Heart Belongs to Daddy' is misquoted in the line: "While teeing off a game of golf, I may make a play for the caddy. But when I do, I don't follow through, 'Cause my heart belongs to daddy". This song was written by Cole Porter.
  • Carter quotes the song "The Way You Look Tonight"
  • The song "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (My Baby)[6] is described as being the Hazard theme song.