Allegory (297 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


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A pattern of reference in the work which evokes a parallel action of abstract ideas. Usually allegory uses recognisable types, symbols and narrative patterns to indicate that the meaning of the text is to be found not in the represented world but in a body of traditional thought. Thus in Animal Farm by George Orwell, the pigs are seen to stand for communists because having led the revolution against the farmer they invent the phrase “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Pilgrim stands as the general type of the good Christian seeking the way of the Lord. Allegory can be simple, offering a one-to-one correspondence between the representation and its …

Editors. "Allegory". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 26 October 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Literary Genres and Modes