Date of Award

Spring 4-2020

Document Type



For centuries authors have used allusion as a literary device to make references to secondary texts. More recently, a new device—with origins in computer programming—has evolved: Easter eggs. A literary Easter egg is an intentionally obscure reference, the meaning of which requires research, specialized knowledge or hints to uncover. Once decoded, it supports the work’s themes or makes a personal connection to the author. The process of hiding, hunting and decoding creates a playful relationship between creator and seeker. Margaret Atwood embraces this new device and deploys a confluence of Easter eggs in her novel Oryx and Crake.