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Writing 101: The Beauty of the Allegory

Updated on November 20, 2014

My Thanks to Orwell

Before I give you a definition, let’s take a look at one of the more famous allegories in literature, “Animal Farm,” brought to you by George Orwell. See if you can tell what an allegory is by simply reading this example.

"Presently, the tumult died down. The four pigs waited, trembling, with guilt written on every line of their countenances. Napoleon now called upon them to confess their crimes. They were the same four pigs as had protested when Napoleon abolished the Sunday Meetings. Without any further prompting, they confessed that they had been secretly in touch with Snowball ever since his expulsion, that they had collaborated with him in destroying the windmill, and that they had entered into an agreement with him to hand over Animal Farm to Mr Frederick. They added that Snowball had privately admitted to them that he had been Jones' secret agent for years past. When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess."

My own little animal farm
My own little animal farm | Source

A Definition

If you are feeling as though your writing has become a bit predictable and, dare I say, boring, you might want to consider one of the greatest tools a writer has in his/her toolbox….the allegory.

According to Websters, an allegory is: a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.

In the example above, Orwell uses a story about an animal farm to make his points about events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Orwell did not think highly of Russian politics, and he uses his story to convey his feelings about State policies.

An allegorical child named Hope
An allegorical child named Hope | Source

EXAMPLE

In my thinly-veiled allegory, A Child Named Hope, I wrote about a young child who made life better for those around her:

“And the child was born, and as she grew it became apparent that this was a special child. Her golden hair reflected sunlight on sunny days, and during the gloom of winter she seemed to absorb the darkness, so that those in her proximity felt warmth where there was cold.

By the time she was eight she was sought by millions, all longing to be near her, to touch her, to bask in her peacefulness, and to hear her words. Every week, every Saturday, in a field of lavender, she met with those who had come from distant shores, and she answered their questions with patience, and with love.”

Isn’t that, after all, what hope does for all of us?

And let’s see if you know this passage and can guess which book it is from:

“His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of mans heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”

If you guessed “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding you are correct.

So, How Do You Write an Allegory?

Remember that an allegorical story is simply a vessel that carries an abstract idea. In other word, you are building a story around a concept, like hope, peace, mercy, or in Orwell’s case, political oppression.

So the first step in writing an allegory is to decide upon the abstract idea you wish your story to represent.

Next you will choose your characters. In an allegory, no character is meaningless. Every character stands for something, whether it be bigotry or intolerance, fear or bravery.

Lastly, you will need to leave clues early on in your story. Without clues, an allegory can quite easily either confuse a reader or totally lose a reader, so give your readers a break and clue them in early what is going on. If you do that properly, then your readers will become invested in the story and probably think you to be quite clever.

Still Confused?

Well don’t be. Anyone who has ever read the Bible is familiar with allegories or, as they are referred to in the religious circles, parables. The Prodigal Son is most definitely an allegory, as are many of the parables spoken by Jesus to his disciples and followers. In fact, Jesus may well be the greatest allegorical writer we have ever known. He’s certainly the most famous.

“As a man traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho he was robbed, beaten and left half dead. A priest walked by and saw the man, but passed by on the other side of the road so as not to be bothered by the man. Later a Levite did the same thing.

Finally a Samaritan, who were not loved by the Jews, saw the Jewish man lying beside the road. The Samaritan bound up the wounds of the man and carried him to an inn. At the inn he continued to care for the wounded man until he had to leave. He gave money to the innkeeper to continue to care for the wounded man.”

Why so Few Allegories These Days

There were quite a few allegories written during the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries,, but we have seen a gradual decline in their use ever since, and I think that’s a shame. The most obvious answer to the question why we see fewer of them today is because there is very little political oppression left in developed countries. Back in the day, it was necessary for many writers to write in allegories about political ideas lest they have their heads lopped off for treason. So they learned to hide their opinions within the safe cocoon of the allegory.

Today we don’t have to worry about the King beheading us for what we have written, so we see fewer and fewer writers using this wonderful grammatical tool.

Is the example to the left an allegory?

See results

Now Let’s Try an Exercise to See What You’ve Learned

I’m going to give you an excerpt from my latest novel, Shadows Kill. I want you to read this passage, and then vote in the poll to the right whether or not this is an allegory.

My sleep was restless that night. I was being chased in a dream, but I couldn’t see the face of my pursuer. He was darkness upon darkness, a shadow man, barely visible each time I turned to look at him. I raced through the woods, my heart exploding in my chest, my breath raspy and strained, sweat pouring from my brow. I knew there was no point in running, that being caught was inevitable, and finally I tripped over a tree root and fell hard to the ground. Turning over, I saw the Shadow Man standing over me, and his shadow formed a smile, dark teeth in a dark mouth.

“It won’t be that easy, Eli,” he said. “Now is not the time.”

I challenge you to write an allegory
I challenge you to write an allegory | Source

So, How About You?

Are you game? Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to expand your skills?

If so, then choose an abstract concept and build a story around it. I’m hoping you’ll give it a try. We need more allegories in literature.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great challenge that would be, Glimmer. I'm not sure how to do it either, but I know you'll pull it off. I look forward to reading that one.

      Thank you and Happy Thursday to you.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      My writing is pretty predictable I think Bill. Now you have me thinking how I can add allegory to one of my recipes! Not sure it's going to work. Have a great day Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Billie. Best wishes with the HP power structure. :)

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 2 years ago from Newport Beach

      Well, my allegory is gone from hubpages! I got a message that it was like significant content on another website. The version I wrote in the hub is a different version I linked to, but that must be what hubpages is having trouble with. That version is a Power Point Presentation that had the two characters Zip and Zoom, two garden snails added. BUT, I had forgotten the "similarity" rule. UGH! So poor Polly must be fated to live in the quiet confines of my website which gets 0/1 view/day (the address of which I think I can't publish here because of "over-promotion" rule.) So if any one wants to listen to Polly as a Power Point it's on my website listed in my profile. Just click on "Polly and the Measuring Stick" on the site map on the bottom of the page. If you want to leave a comment, just go to the Forum on my website that is also listed on the bottom of the page. Thanks, guys.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope you do, John, but I completely understand about the time issue. Thank you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I was not going to partake of this challenge Bill because I have written a number of poems as allegories, however if I can manage to find the time I did write a children's story years ago with Australian animals as the main characters. It is very long but I may be able to make a hub out of it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billie, that's wonderful news. I'm so glad to hear that, and I'm sure Polly is excited being able to get out and stretch her legs. Thank you!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 2 years ago from Newport Beach

      Bill, I dragged out two of my 92 thousand versions of "Polly and the Measuring Stick" which were parked in a forgotten folder on my C: drive and put them into a hub. I hope to get some critque of this little fable (?) allegory (?) and maybe some idea as to what to do with it. Thanks for article here that motivated me to dust this off and re-publish it here and on my website. None of us, even Polly want to be sitting around feeling useless! Cheers, and again, thank you :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, you've got me. I have no idea what it is or how you make money doing it....well, I'm glad you didn't do it because it doesn't sound nice. LOL

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I like your excerpts, including your personal example. I enjoy the non-literal and in college had professors encouraging me to pursue literary criticism as a career. (Who does that?)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, travmaj! I think a poem is a wonderful stage for an allegory, and I've read many fine ones in that form. Best wishes my friend.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Two wonderful examples of allegory with Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. I'm confident I couldn't write a novel but may have a bash at a poem. Does that sound like cheating? Don't watch this space, I procrastinate. Impressive article, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, I'm impressed that you used it once. Most writers never do. Nice job!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      I've used an allegory for a college English assignment once. I'm not sure if I'll ever use it again, but I'll definitely keep it in mind.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, no, writing an allegory is not easy and yes, my piece was not an allegory. How's that for creative us of negatives. LOL

      Thank you dear friend

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vrdelta, that is the question indeed. Shakespeare was no slouch when it came to allegorical expression.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, Vellur! Much-appreciated my loyal friend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Bill,

      Yes, the allegories in the Bible are amazing and provide such great insight to life and how we should live a most abundant life. I read Animal Farm too. I think poetry is for the most part. I had forgotten all about allegories until reading this piece. Writing an allegory is no easy task!

      C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an allegory.

      I voted that your piece is not an allegory.

      Blessings always

    • vrdelta profile image

      Michael Alexander Young 2 years ago from Fairview, NC

      Think I'm in conflict. To be or not to be?

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Informative and very well explained. Great hub and voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LMAO...Mel, that is a classic question, is it not? Have we dumbed down this country to the point where an allegory is too difficult to understand? Oh, I'll be laughing about that for hours. Thanks my friend.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      In light of recent disturbing political trends I think writers will be making greater use of allegory to help protect our tender necks. Question is: Will the "Dancing with the Stars" public understand it? Great hub, you are the king my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Heidi. I have not read Johnson's work but I will now.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Agreed that we have less practical use for allegory these days due to more tolerant political environments. However, it is still alive and well even in business lit. An example would be Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese? Great stuff as usual. Cheers!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, DDE! I am very humbled by your praise.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Eddy! Kind words of praise to begin my day with. I will write with a smile on my face today, thanks to you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nicholas, you raise an interesting point. I know, for myself, that allegories are very hard to write, so I think it takes a very talented writer to create one. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan....they are beautiful when written correctly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, you are correct...my example is not an allegory nor was it meant to be...just making sure you learned the lesson well and knew the difference. Well done!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you always leave me with thoughts to ponder, and today is no different. Writers would do well to follow the lead of the Master in writing allegories. They are powerful when written correctly.

      I wish you peace and blessings this chilly Thursday.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad yes, either a reference point or a main character...but you didn't derail...you just never got that spark of electricity. :)

      bill

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well-explained hub. You have a talent in writing the best.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

      Another brilliant hub Billy and you have certainly made your mark here on HubPages . Your challenges are also so inspiring and one day very soon I will try one myself. Promise !!!Keep up the great work my dear friend as HubPages would certainly not be the same without you any more. Wonderful lesson once again and voted up up and away .

      Eddy.

    • Nicholas Pollock profile image

      Nicholas Pollock 2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I think allegories get an unfair rap. I remember reading that JRR Tolkien would get quite offended when anyone suggested that LOTR might be an allegory (I don't know if that's actually true). I often wondered why - his friend CS Lewis did quite well with obvious allegory. Sometimes I think there is a notion that allegory is for less talented writers, that a sophisticated writer finds ways to convey meaning in less obvious ways. That's a shame, because allegory can be quite powerful.

      Oh, and I love the Matrix video. One of my favorite movie trilogies.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I have not heard of 'Allegory' earlier. Thanks for explaining what it means through your hub. Now I understand this and it sounds beautiful indeed.

      Thanks for sharing and voted up!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting one again. Your citation of examples including your own are great. But I voted for not enough stuff to judge your one. I expected some more touch to it. You are very inspiring, as always, with the call to try allegories in our writings.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Good evening Bill from wintery cold Mich.

      Great lesson and an encouragement.

      The annals would record this as a classic: You have mentioned ‘The most famous’ ( Jesus) allegorical orator and this far no one has opposed. Having you as a great teacher / mentor everyone of us would like to have your "you have pass the test.” Meanwhile in case of your sample allegory one of your student would go back with not passing mark. My vote is “ yes “ based on the philosophy of the same great allegory orator, who said “How can I describe the people who are living now? They are like children who sit in the marketplaces and shout to other children, We played music for you, but you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song, but you didn’t show any sadness.” A strong allegory carrying message ‘ Woe to that man, who knows not the difference between good and evil.’ In your sample an evil has been chased by his sub conscience ,and at the point of confronting his “own” evil wasn’t over with his own “MISSION”- as assuming your novel would continue his adventure…( Wasn't time now to end his life ?)

      Well, being wrong is either to admit or to blame on someone inspiring toward being wrong. ( a fault is on my imagination. ).

      Voted up and useful.

      Peace be with you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I just think it's a fun and challenging tool that too many writers ignore. I'd love to see more of it used in literature today.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you would never make it as a writer in a dictator country. LOL You'd write one piece and be arrested for treason.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Just curious, Bill. I think I'm too straight forward to bring allegories into my writing. I've even been told that if I didn't watch what I said I could be arrested (when our current leader first went into office). See what I mean? LOL

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The allegory is a very interesting concept. Thanks for sharing the examples and for challenging us to write a story containing an allegory, Bill.

    • profile image

      bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

      billybuc

      Maybe the word ideology was too ambiguous?

      Does an allegory need to have a reference point to triangle its meaning to the reader?

      More likely my story was missing a character, one that would have identified with freedom, and it was freedom that built the Internet, and Hp was built under the umbrella of that same freedom, which in my view it thought irrelevant to distribute it to their population.

      Off the rails, weeeeee.

      ooops sharp turn aheadddd.

      lol

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, I thought you were talking about a different story...no, I see no allegory in your story, only because the point isn't really hidden deep within it...I think your point is pretty straight-forward in that story. :) But then I could be wrong, as I often am.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I've already responded to your challenge. You thought it was pretty amazing. My question is: was there an allegory in my story?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Barbara Kay, there seems to be a problem with the voting buttons today...just one more glitch at HP. Yes, a parable, and I know you can do it. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not wrong at all, Sha, and I think that prompt is a perfect vehicle for your allegory. Take it out for a test drive but first, get well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blossom, you bring up a wonderful point. How many paintings are allegorical in nature? I always think about that when I see "The Scream." Thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary. I know time is always an issue, but i hope you are able to give this a try.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      When you call it a parable, it hit me as something I wouldn't have any problem doing. Thanks for the idea. I would have voted, but for some reason it wasn't working.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      This is my last read for today. I've been a very bad girl by not following my after-care instructions, but I'm trying to catch up on my reading.

      Your writing hubs bring long-forgotten terms to mind, I must admit. When I write, I just write without trying to employ terms I learned so long ago and have forgotten so many years later.

      However, I think I may have used an allegory (or two) in my response to your Woman on the Mountaintop challenge. Or am I wrong?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Damn, Bradmaster....I'm afraid I'm just a bear of very little brain. :)

    • profile image

      bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

      billybuc

      The Internet

      and Hp.

      I guess you were right, glass is veiled.

      lol

      Thanks

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      The allegories in the Bible are great ways to teach us about life and ourselves, but I'm not sure I could write one successfully. However, I had great fun with one of my paintings one year, I called it 'Mature Love', and it was amazing standing nearby and hearing people's comments on what they thought they saw in it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      It certainly is stretching the boundaries. I read Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm but never thought of writing that way. Hmm...I may have to take up this challenge, but no promises here.

      You definitely keep writing alive my friend.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Iris, you and I would get along famously in a conversation. I think this country has dumbed down quite enough. We need writers who are willing to write up to the audience rather than down to them. :) Thank you for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peace be with you, Manatita....The Origin of the Species is the book you didn't remember, and most definitely, Christ led the way in the writing of allegories...of course, he probably didn't actually "write" them. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ArtDiva, today's politics are just begging for a good allegory writer to take the reins and gallop with it. I might give it a try..thanks for the idea.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billie, I look forward to reading it. It sounds like the perfect vehicle for an allegory. And I hope you don't give up on it...perhaps expand it and submit again?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm a teacher, Bill, like you. This is what we do my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Catherine. What you are given here is not an allegory....you do not have enough of a sample base to make any decision on it. Thanks for playing along with me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, you would be good at this...you skip along the borders of it already. I look forward to your next effort my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Brad, I'll have to go back over the comment......were you talking about the United States by any chance? The top 1%?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Jo...that is the perfect example of an allegory. Thank you for sharing that, and I look forward to that book being published one day.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I'm so glad you talked about this, Bill. I think allegory also treats the reader like an intelligent human being. It makes them work, but it assumes they're smart enough to understand.

    • profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago

      Well, Bro. I think that Christ was a genius! Only today someone said that Darwin's book - whatever its called - was the most popular, followed by the Bible. But since I do not remember Darwins, then this goes to show, does n't it?

      You're not doing bad yourself. The dream one could use a little extra time.

      Two great books mentioned: Animal Farm and Lord of The Flies. Peace.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      Billybuc. I believe today's politics written allegorically, to present simpler, would be read and stir greater understanding, action. I'm sure there are writers here who could meet the challenge you have presented. Good read.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      Bill, good point. You're right that we could use allegories more often. Simple words can turn into magic.

      As you have aptly expressed - Jesus used it often to express highland to flatland, otherwise you might not reach out to others.

      It takes more time and dedication to speak in parables then the direct approach, perhaps this is why people tend to avoid them.

      Good point!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 2 years ago from Newport Beach

      Okie, doke. I accept the challenge, Bill. I wrote "Polly and the Measuring Stick" years ago. I might as well post it here on hubpages since it's just sitting doing nothing on Kindle (tee hee). At least I like it! The problem is that I don't exactly know where one can sell an allegory. This is really a story for adults, but appears as if it's a children's story. I got one rejection from Winslow publishing years ago. I had been in NY and actually looked up the address of the publishing co. I simply walked in the building, and amid a pile of moving boxes was a LOVELY young woman, an agent, who took "Polly" when I handed it to her. A short time later, I received a lovely rejection letter later saying it was beautifully written, but too short for a children's chapter book and too long for a picture book. So Polly the Petunia and her snail friends Zip and Zoom are just floating around aimlessly in the ethers. My daughter had been going with a talented graphic designer at the time who had made amazing sketches for Polly, but my daughter and the artist broke up. Ah, such is a writer's life. I'll post the story with those sketches.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for continuing to share useful concepts and writing techniques! ;-)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      It was hard to know if The Shadow Man was an allegory or a bad dream or maybe real escapade. to be an allegory, the Shadow man would have to represent something, like the tax man chasing down a hapless citizen.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great lesson time, I learned much. I will give it a try.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, it's close, but an allegory has to have a hidden concept or idea....like the loss of freedom, or the importance of love....the only reason I would call yours an allegory is it is immediately obvious what it is about...still, it is well-written and clever.

    • profile image

      bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

      billybuc

      Thanks for your kind words and I appreciate your feedback, the good, bad, and the ugly. Although, I haven't seen the latter two yet.

      Anyway, did you guess what the two ideologies were in my comment?

      Thanks

      bradmasterOC

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, I wrote a poem awhile back, "Road of pain" where I use allegory for the first time. The poem was about a woman on the road to Mogadishu, fleeing from a war zone, on the way she lost her "children", first Joy then Hope, Faith and finally Grace. All the things poverty, pain and suffering can deprive us of. This is very useful tips and another exceptional piece of work from you.

      I've since, unpublished the poem, I'm hoping to include it in a book of poems I want to publish one day. :) Take care, my best as always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby. Allegories confuse a lot of people. Take a concept and then build a story around it without mentioning it. That's all there is to it, he said with a smirk and a laugh. :)

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 2 years ago from So Cal

      So, would my hub, the Death of Planet Squidoo, qualify as an allegory? Not that I am asking you to read it but could you skim it and let me know. Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies are favorites. And, I think the time is coming where writing will need to revert to allegory as the noose closes in on free speech.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, that's exactly what it is, and one reason so many people confuse allegories and metaphors. Good luck with those assignments. I know you'll do well with them.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I have read that, and it was light years ahead of its time. Thanks for the reference and good luck with that homework assignment.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I do think a finely-written allegory does take time. To craft one is not a spur-of-the-moment undertaking, but I also know you have the writing talent to do it well. I look forward to your attempt.

      Thank you as always my friend. The cold has arrived here and I'm still trying to warm up this morning.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bradmaster, thanks for your thoughts. Glass costume? I think a bit more veiled than that. In fact, you are driving down the correct lane and doing the speed limit in my opinion. :) I always love your comments my friend. Thank you!

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Gees, I don't know about doing this one. I don't completely understand what to do. I will read it again and google it. Thank's teach.

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      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I love allegory. It brings clarity and understanding to concepts and ideas. I heard it once referred to as an extended metaphor in a general sense. I am still working on your last challenge and hope to wrap it up soon. Then I hope to find time to try this one.

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      William Kovacic 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      So now that we have the homework assignment, Mr. Holland, where do I begin? I'll have to think this one over. Wondering if you ever read Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyun in the 1600's .From a religious standpoint, it was way ahead of its time. See you next Monday, if not before!

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I do like the idea of having a go at this but it might take some time! It'll be stretching the boundaries which is what I need.

      You are doing exactly what your final phrase always says, “Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.” I fancy flying high to see what the world has to offer!

      Enjoy the rest of your week, bill!

      Ann

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      bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

      billybuc

      I think allegories were used to obliquely broach a subject that was unpopular by the ruling entity of the time. It would be considered a passive aggressive act by today's social interactions.

      An allegory could be denied its underlying message if the entity attacked the writing, and the writer.

      I haven't read fiction since, I was in college years ago. My reading in college was mostly technical textbooks. And my work since college has also been in the technical area for reading, as well as writing.

      I remember in high school, the teacher saying to the class, what did the author mean when he wrote this story?

      My usual thought was the cover story? As it required the knowledge of the South in one author's writing, and being from NY, I had no idea what was going on in the south at this time, much less the era of the story.

      My interpretation of an allegory

      There once was a land where the people lived in freedom and over time they protected those freedoms with blood, sweat and tears.

      Then one day in the corner of that land, a new ideology was born. It was allowed to grow and prosper because of the desire of the people to continue freedom in all forms, and expressions.

      The new ideology seemed to be in concert with the general ideology of the land. This ideology prosper, and grew and it became common place after once having been only experienced by a few.

      Year after year, more and more people experienced the wonders and extent of this ideology. This expansion however created eddy currents for the ideology.

      Then at some point, a group using that ideology, which was based on freedoms of the country, used the ideology for its own voice. Its voice was more of an undertone than one that could be heard loud and clear.

      Built on the constructs and theme of freedom this group thought of itself above the freedom that it had been bestowed with by the country. It thought of itself more as a Kingdom protection from attack by the ideology of freedom.

      The group dispensed its ideology through acts that lacked any understanding of freedom by banishing its followers that didn't agree with them.

      ------

      Now, I am sure that this shows I have not grasped the lesson you provided in this hub.

      I am sure that there is a label for this kind of writing, maybe bad, confusing, or some other term that describes trying to disguise something using a glass costume.

      Thanks

      bradmasterOC

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Ann. I love a good allegory, but I find many people are confused about what they really are. I hope you give it a try.

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      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I just read a great one here on hubpages. I don't know if she is in your group or not, but she compared our walk with Christ to 4 stages of a butterfly and she did well, too. It was the first one I'd read outside the Bible in a long time. I remember reading Animal Farm and the teacher told us it was written as a warning to democracies, showing how they could turn communist. "Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others." That's the only line I remember from the whole book, but that says it all. Well done Bill. You may have inspired me to write an allegory!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, you most definitely use the allegorical form in your poetry, and you use it to full effect. Just skip this lesson; you don't need it. :) Thanks my friend.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Another great article that encourages us to challenge ourselves. I think I actually do use allegory in a lot of my poetry to convey an underlying message. Even in my story "One Way Ticket (The Train From Purgatory) the names of the stations Purgatory, Perdition, and Absolution represent our choices in life and afterlife. Would you agree that is an allegory? Jesus' parables were the best though, and I love "Animal Farm".

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I wonder how many of us read that book in the 11th grade? I know I did....and honestly, I hated it. LOL Thanks my friend and Happy Hump Day!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Graham. I would have found that thrilling if I'd been there...and you are right, my example is not an allegory. Thanks for sharing that story.

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Definitely haven't thought about this in quite sometime myself, but you do make a valid point about using an allegory here today and left me with food for thought. Oh and you totally brought me back to 11th grade English with The Lord of the Flies reference today! Happy Wednesday now :)

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      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. A really good hub today, food for thought and easy to follow. I admit here that I voted no however. A point of interest; many years ago whilst on business in London. I stayed at a small hotel. It was converted from an old school, the outside façade had been retained so the building was very interesting in itself. When going into the Bar I saw photos of George Orwell all around. It turned out that he had been a teacher there in earlier years. So a great conversation piece was never far away.

      Graham.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Randi! People do like to think, and allegories force them to do so...that's enough reason for me to love them.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, thank you so much and you are right, this excerpt is not an allegory...well done! You passed the test!

      blessings always...feel better soon

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Frank. They are not easy at all to write. A short story, yes, that is reasonably easy to do, but a full-length book? Now we are talking some serious writing skill.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Carol! They are a difficult exercise. Perhaps that's why more writers don't use them today. :) Good luck with your allegory.

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      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I really enjoyed reading this, Bill! You cited some of the greatest novels including your next one! Allegories are a great way to get the message across. Although they may not always admit it, people like to think! Up++ Thank you!

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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Billy Buc, I am very familiar with the allegory, especially the stories in the Bible. Voted up, useful and interesting. I am glad you brought this up. I voted that Shadows Kill was NOT an allegory, but I have to say I loved the excerpt. When I get a story from my sister (she loves to do that and I say it lovingly), she will then say, "Lea this is an allegory of your life!" She uses allegories all the time! I love everything you share, I truly do. God bless you always. Sparklea :)

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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      I can understand the hidden meanings and the concept of a moral or political story.. even though this hub helps it may not be easy for a one dimensional writer like myself.. I will practice and practice and use this hub as a guideline my friend :)