An average reader would not fail to immediately relate the following incident from “Little women” with indirect reference to the biblical story upon reading the passage. How well do we have to learn about allusions to become competent readers in general?

Just before school closed, Jo appeared, wearing a grim expression, as she stalked up to the desk, and delivered a letter from her mother; then collected Amy’s property, and departed, carefully scraping the mud from her boots on the door-mat, as if she shook the dust of the place off her feet.

Not sure I see what Biblical story you are speaking of

PS I see you are reading Little Women— how fun!! I used to love this book as a kid. For some reason I remember Amy throwing the lines out the window. (Sorry, spoiler and maybe I am forgetting the story exactly.). That part always struck me, maybe because it’s a bit unusual to think of limes as so special these days. Also of course we relate to ”bad” behavior as kids :smiley:

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Maybe: What does it mean to shake the dust off your feet? | ?

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No worry. Joe already stepped up in action. Anyways, I consider it to be a light reading. Sometimes we just wonder how little story with so much charm of captivating people’s mind. It’s a delightful read for me.

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I guess whatever is considered classic literature in the language you’re reading is. In Western literature the Bible, Homer, and Shakespeare probably catch most of them. It’s worth noting that Alcott would knew her audience were familiar with the Gospels, thus the allusion.

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Some of them are more contemporary ones. Maybe it will be better for me to learn the less popular ones on a needed basis.

Common ones
Adam’s apple, all roads lead to Rome, alpha and omega, apocalypse, back to square one, ballpark figure, baptism of fire

Ones that I am familiar with.
Achilles’ heel, acropolis, amazon, ambrosia, apartheid, bite the bullet.

Ones that I have learned the meaning of, but I may wonder about their origin.
Abigail, aegis, all for one and one for all, anathema, Après moi, le déluge, behemoth, below the salt, bowdlerize.

Ones that I have yet to learn.
Actium, alarums and excursions, albatross around one’s neck, Albion, Alcatraz, Alcestis, Armageddon, bell, book, and candle, Beulah, peel me a grape, bonfire of the vanities, a bridge too far.