Our Favorite Literary References in Cartoons

June 23, 2015

Summer is here, kids are home, and the cartoons are on. Don’t change the channel just yet. There’s something for everyone.

The Simpsons

Known for literary references, The Simpsons have so many in fact, it’s hard to pick just one. Here are a few of our favorites:

114057_franzen-chabonMichael Chabon: You can’t make this stuff up.
Jonathan Franzen: Maybe you can’t.
Michael Chabon: That’s it, Franzen! I think your nose needs some corrections!

113829_amytanLisa: Ms. Tan, I loved the Joy Luck Club. It really showed me how the mother-daughter bond can triumph over adversity.
Amy Tan: No, that’s not what I meant at all, you couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.
Lisa: But…
Amy Tan: Please, just sit down. I’m embarrassed for both of us.

gravitys rainbowLisa: “You’re reading Gravity’s Rainbow?”
Gymnast: “Re-reading it.”

philip rothNo description needed. (Note the Breadloaf pun.)

 Family Guy

tumblr_nabr2m5rUC1so87hoo1_500Chris: Mom! Dad! The T.V.’s broken.
Peter: Actually, Chris, I got rid of our television. This is our new bookshelf, and I think you’ll find it has more channels than any T.V. we ever owned.
Chris: I want to watch The Walking Dead!
Peter: Then I shall read to you from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Meg: I want to watch New Girl.
Peter: Perhaps you’d like to hear about Jane Eyre, who felt quite the new girl at Rochester’s Thornbury Hall.
Chris: How about Game of Thrones?
Peter: Instead I shall read to you from… Game of Thrones.

FamilyGuy-TrumanCapoteRobber: Give me all your money
Quagmire: Okay, okay
Robber: You have a white wallet?
Quagmire: Yeah, just like Truman Capote
Robber: Who’s Truman Capote?
Quagmire: What a surprise, the mugger’s never heard of Truman Capote… there’s a library card in there! Use it!

Looney Tunes

latest In the “Abominable Snowman” the snowman acts as a direct reference to Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

Hyde-and-HareIn “Hyde and Hare” Bugs lives through a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Deduce+you+say And don’t forget Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

If you’re looking for more ways in which cartoons utilize or reference literary fiction, check out this Buzzfeed list of 16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained by Disney. Ahhh, summer.


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