What is Allegory, and how can it be effectively used to develop writing content?
The child down the street said to his brother... if you keep saying that Lucus, you will be like the boy who cried wolf. As his words echoed off of my ear drums I remembered that story from my own childhood. It made me wonder about the stories of our own lives and the use of allegory. What is allegory and how can we use it better to develop our own writing? What are some of the other examples of the use of allegory in writing?
Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself.
To my understanding, allegory would be to make your content express itself metaphorically. I would believe that this would be useful in expressing yourself in the poetic form. There could be good use for it in developing a rhythm to your poem. You are not constrained by using hard fact to get your work done and completed successfully.
According to my copy of the Oxford English dictionary, Allegory means:
"a story, poem, or picture which contains a hidden meaning".
How can it be effectively used to develop writing content? - The answer lies within the question, seek not the answer, instead look for the correct question.
"symbolic work: a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning".
I was always told that an allegory is best recognized as an item or person in a story that has a deeper meaning than just being that item or person. An allegory is always a helpful tool in writing. Let's say I want to write about a woman who desires freedom but is in jail. She looks at the cell bars every day and wishes for her freedom. You come to find out that this woman is in jail because she killed her abusive cheating husband. The bars then not only represent her physical incarceration, but also her mindset of being 'trapped' or 'caged' into something she felt she couldn't escape.
The best example I've always seen is in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It's about a woman who supposedly has taken ill, and her husband, for all intents and purposes, confines her to a room with peeling yellow wallpaper. Of course, this is more than just yellow wallpaper. As the story progresses, this woman's "illness" (which before seemed to be a fabrication of the husband) seems to take a turn towards mentally ill. She begins seeing figures moving in the wallpaper, faces leering at her from the wall. The wallpaper, in this case, is an allegory. It's not simply wallpaper, but a symbol of this woman's insanity - whether it be the cause or simply showing the effects.
Examples of allegory are ...most of the book of Genesis.
For instance - it takes a profoundly or wilfully ignorant sort to think that Adam and Eve represented just TWO unique persons...who went on to people the Earth.
That doesn't work for obvious reasons...incest being the primary example of "how that doesn't work."
Adam and Eve are examples of "the first generation of man" in the much larger allegory of "The Garden Of Eden."
The Genesis account of creation is total allegory. It's a ridiculous sort that denies that evolution exists. Moses never intended for folks to read Genesis literally....Jesus spoke in parables, and Moses wrote complex things allegorically so that anyone could get the gist of what he was trying to say.
Don't tell the American fundamentalist Christian though...they still tend to think that the golden rule only applies to persons who are similar to themselves, and never applies to Arabs, gays, or the poor anywhere.
Actually, few people do not know that the famous genesis creation account is intended to be read allegorically and not strictly literally. Believe me or not, the Bible is not necessarily teaching a literal creation. The genesis creation narrative, which people claim their idea of literal creation from, seems to be hiding some deeper meaning encoded in its figurative language.
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