ALLEGORY ENGLISH 2E WHAT IS AN ALLEGORY? a layered story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted on a literal level as well as a metaphorical level. The allegorical interpretation typically reveals a moral, social, or political message. a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation.

a literary device in which characters or events in a literary, visual, dramatic, or musical art form represent or symbolize ideas and concepts. FOR EXAMPLE, GEORGE ORWELLS ANIMAL FARM

ANIMAL FARM, LITERALLY Dont look for any hidden meanings or symbols. What happens in the story? Who are the characters? The story is about crazy, power- hungry pigs who

take over a farm and oppress their fellow animals. ANIMAL FARM, ALLEGORICALLY Look for hidden meanings and symbols. George Orwell expects you to see

the pigs as the communist leaders of Soviet Russia. What could the events of the story represent? The Farm is meant to be the USSR. Who do the characters

symbolize? Other animals on the farm represent different people or groups of people from Soviet Russia. While allegories use metaphor, symbolism, personification, and other literary devices to deliver

their message, these devices are not by themselves an allegory. When a whole story (long or short) is meant to be read as a representation of some human idea, concept, or historical event, it is an allegory and should be read beyond the literal meanings. WHAT AN ALLEGORY IS NOT: MAUS, BY ART SPIEGELMAN

CHECK FOR ALLEGORICAL QUALITIES Well, it uses animals to tell the story, communicates hidden meanings about different racial groups to tell a Holocaust survival story, brilliantly uses symbolism and

metaphor over the course of the entire story. But, the story is about real events, real places, and real characters, literally a biography of a Holocaust survivor and his son.


Everyman, Anonymous 15th-century morality play that uses allegorical characters to examine the question of Christian salvation and what Man must do to attain it. AESOPS FABLES

A fable is a kind of allegory. Aesops Fables were some of the first examples of allegory. Aesop was a Greek story teller who lived around 620 564 BCE (200 years before Plato and pals!). The stories attributed to him often use animals to tell allegorical stories. THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE ANTS

LITERAL ANALYSIS What happens in the story? Who are the characters? Literary devices? Read the story here. ALLEGORICAL ANALYSIS

What could the events in the story represent? What/who do the characters represent? What is the moral, social, or political message? YOUR TURN With a partner, choose a picture book.

Read the story aloud as a group. Conduct the analysis (handout) together. When complete, staple your work together and turn it in!

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