Allegory is a story that works on two levels. Essay
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Allegory is a story that works on two levels.
"Mature readers appreciate the powerful satire on communism gone wrong, while for younger readers it is a hilarious fable of the farmyard."-Animal Farm
As explained in the quote above, Animal Farm is a story that works on two levels. One level is simple, and the other one is the more complex and sophisticated. I would like to explain these levels in this essay.
But first, I would like to clearly explain what the word allegory means by giving some examples from well-known fables. One of the best examples is the Little Red Riding Hood. I imagine that most of the people in this world knows about this fable. This story is translated in to many languages, in many different countries…show more content…
The book having two levels entertains both the mature and younger readers. This is why this book is read in variety of generations. A 4th grade student can enjoy this book, and also a grown up adult will probably enjoy this book by thinking deeply about what this book is really signifying. So, the simpler level of the book introduces the young readers the joy of reading. The animals represent different people in the book Animal Farm.
"Moses claimed to know the existence of a mysterious country called
In the quote above, it explains how Moses tries to convince everybody in to believing about the wonderful world Sugarcandy Mountain.
Sugarcandy Mountain is just like a paradise for the animals to go to after their death. Sugarcandy Mountain is signifying heaven, and Moses represents religion. This means any religion. Like Moses representing religion, in this book, all the characters represent something or somebody in the Russian revolution. But this book means more. Although this book is based on the Russian revolution, this book is not only about the Russian revolution. The clearest example of this is Napoleon and Snowball. Napoleon represents Stalin. Stalin and Napoleon were both tyrant leaders, who received all the profit with out producing things by them selves. On the other side was Snowball who represents
Allegory is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of characters, figures, and events. It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story, with a purpose of teaching or explaining an idea or a principle. The objective of its use is to teach some kind of a moral lesson.
Difference Between Allegory and Symbolism
Although an allegory uses symbols, it is different from symbolism. An allegory is a complete narrative that involves characters and events that stand for an abstract idea or event. A symbol, on the other hand, is an object that stands for another object, giving it a particular meaning. Unlike allegory, symbolism does not tell a story. For example, Plato, in his Allegory of Cave, tells a story of how some people are ignorant, while at the same time other people “see the light.” Plato’s allegory stands for an idea and does not tell an actual story.
Examples of Allegory in Everyday Life
Allegory is an archaic term, which is used specifically in literary works. It is difficult to spot its occurrence in everyday life, although recently we do find examples of allegory in political debates. The declaration of former U.S. President George W. Bush was allegorical when he used the term “Axis of Evil” in referring to three countries considered a danger to the world. He later used the term “allies” for those countries that would wage war against the “Axis.”
Examples of Allegory in Literature
Example #1: Animal Farm (By George Orwell)
Animal Farm, written by George Orwell, is an allegory that uses animals on a farm to describe the overthrow of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and the Communist Revolution of Russia before WW I. The actions of the animals on the farm are used to expose the greed and corruption of the revolution. It also describes how powerful people can change the ideology of a society. One of the cardinal rules on the farm is this:
“All animals are equal but a few are more equal than others.”
The animals on the farm represent different sections of Russian society after the revolution.
For instance, the pigs represent those who came to power following the revolution; “Mr. Jones,” the owner of the farm, represents the overthrown Tsar Nicholas II; while “Boxer” the horse, represents the laborer class. The use of allegory in the novel allows Orwell to make his position clear about the Russian Revolution and expose its evils.
Example #2: Faerie Queen (By Edmund Spenser)
Faerie Queen, a masterpiece of Edmund Spenser, is a moral and religious allegory.
The good characters of book stand for the various virtues, while the bad characters represent vices. “The Red-Cross Knight” represents holiness, and “Lady Una” represents truth, wisdom, and goodness. Her parents symbolize the human race. The “Dragon,” which has imprisoned them, stands for evil.
The mission of holiness is to help the truth fight evil, and thus regain its rightful place in the hearts of human beings. “The Red-Cross Knight” in this poem also represents the reformed church of England, fighting against the “Dragon,” which stands for the Papacy or the Catholic Church.
Example #3: Pilgrim’s Progress (By John Bunyan)
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is an example of spiritual allegory. The ordinary sinner, Christian, leaves the City of Destruction, and travels towards Celestial City, where God resides, for salvation. He finds Faithful, a companion who helps him on his way to the City. On many instances, many characters, including Hypocrisy, Apollyon, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Obstinate, and Pliable try to discourage or stop him from achieving his aim. Finally, he reaches the Celestial City, carried by Hopeful’s faith.
The moral learned through this allegory is that the road to Heaven is not easy, and it is full of obstacles. A Christian has to be willing to pay any price to achieve salvation. A man is full of sins, but this does not stop him from achieving glory.
Function of Allegory
Writers use allegory to add different layers of meanings to their works. Allegory makes their stories and characters multidimensional, so that they stand for something larger in meaning than what they literally stand for. Allegory allows writers to put forward their moral and political points of view. A careful study of an allegorical piece of writing can give us an insight into its writer’s mind, how he views the world, and how he wishes the world to be.