Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the verbal. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation. Allegory is generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language: briefly, an allegory is a device used to present an idea, principle or meaning, which can be presented in literary form, such as a poem or novel, or in visual form, such as in painting or drawing.
As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor. As an artistic device, an allegory is a visual symbolic representation. An example of a simple visual allegory is the image of the grim reaper. Viewers understand that the image of the grim reaper is a symbolic representation of death. Another example is the female allegory of justice. Such visual representations have raised the question why so many allegories in the history of art, representing male gendered realities, are of female sex.
Since meaningful stories are nearly always applicable to larger issues, allegories may be read into many stories, sometimes distorting their author's overt meaning. For instance, many people have suggested that The Lord of the Rings is an allegory for the World Wars, in spite of J. R. R. Tolkien's emphatic statement in the introduction to the second edition, "It is neither allegorical nor topical.... I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence." Many have also suggested that the movie "The Dark Knight" is an allegory for the Bush Administration's conduction of the War on Terror (the Dark Knight himself taking on the role of President George W. Bush).
Not every resonant work of modern fiction is an allegory. Arthur Miller's The Crucible, for instance, is character-driven historical drama with contemporary relevance, but is not an allegory in spite of its parallels with McCarthyism, linking the hunt for communists in the 1940s and 1950s to the hunt for witches in the late 17th century. L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is plot-driven fantasy narrative in an extended fable with talking animals and broadly-sketched characters. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is another example of a work seen by many as allegorical yet, as the author explained, is not - rather it is an example of what he referred to as applicability.
No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in. ... [In The Old Man and the Sea], I tried to make a real old man, a real boy, a real sea and a real fish and real sharks. But if I made them good and true enough they would mean many things. ”
—Ernest Hemingway in 1954
Now, for the uncomplicated explanation and assignment....
An allegory is simply a story or topic which relates to another unspoken topic. Star Trek was famous for working allegories into it's episodes. You assignment is....do it! Give me a poem that is allegorical, with an unspoken bond or link to another topic. Do it well and we will try to guess what the topic is that you are referring to. Stump us if you can. I am not expecting many to make the effort but I appreciate those of you who do. Good luck!!