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An allegory is a piece of literature or text presents an abstract, or non-concrete, idea through more concrete means or methods. Most of time we think of allegories as narratives with two or more levels or degrees of meaning. The first level of a narrative is the surface-level story line. This first level is the plot, which describes who did what and when. The second, and higher, level of narrative is the existence of a deeper or more abstract meaning beyond the plot. Authors may try to make these second or more abstract meanings apparent, but they may also try to hide them from the reader. An allegory, or higher meaning, may contain moral, philosophical, environmental, religious, or political concepts or ideas.
It is important to keep in mind that the entire narrative itself may not be an allegory. Certain parts of stories can contain allegorical elements. Characters themselves may be used to resemble secondary meanings. For instance, in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis, the character of Aslan, the lion of the narrative, could be compared to the story of Jesus Christ in traditional religions. Therefore, the character may suggest religious allegory; however, the entire story by C. S. Lewis may not entirely follow the religious allegory.
Allegories are usually placed into two major categories:
- political and historical allegories
- allegories of abstract themes and ideas
The categories easily describe what they contain. The allegories of politics and history contain characters, places, or descriptions of acts that correlate, or connect, to known historical places and figures. The allegories of abstract themes and ideas, characters and places work in place of concepts that may not be tangible or concrete. For instance, greed is a concept and therefore cannot be tangible. Instead, an author might use a character to stand in for greed. For instance, Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol functions as an allegory to demonstrate what greed can to do your life.
Fables are examples of simplified and short allegories. These short allegories are heavily used by teachers and parents to relate abstract concepts to children. Children are often told the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf. In the fable, a shepherd boy watching over a flock of sheep falsely yells that a wolf is near the sheep so that adults run to help him. The adults run to help the boy the first two times he yells. The boy cries “wolf” a third time, but this time a real wolf is actually near the flock. Because the adults think the boy is lying about the wolf again, they do not run to help the boy. The wolf, in turn, eats the flock of sheep. The plot of this tale is simple, but children understand that there is another meaning to this story beyond understanding the plot. The secondary meaning is a warning to children not to lie, because lying may lead to no one believing you when you are telling the truth and need help.
Allegory is present in art and literature as well. When we look at a painting, we see the concrete image in front of us on the canvas or paper. However, the images can also represent something else. Since films also tell stories, they can contain allegories. The movie Brave, which tells the story of a princess who goes on an adventure could be an allegory for the concept of self-discovery, making your own fate, or accepting your destiny.
There may be several levels of allegory within a narrative: those allegories may be more or less apparent to someone depending on their experiences and knowledge, and different experiences also causes us to interpret allegories differently.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use allegory worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what allegory is and how it can be used. You can use these allegory worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Allegory Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 17, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.