Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Allegory and Parable

Open the door of your imagination with me today.  Walk away from your real world, or the world of your current work in progress, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and read a story about my friend Allie.

Allie Futuro enjoyed writing.  Her series abut the space station was still in print after five years. She also loved Greg Gory. The days before her wedding she struggled with her decision to take his last name.  As the wedding music played she remembered her close friends question, "So, are you going to write thrillers or horror stories after you get married?"

What a question to ask!   She hated thrillers and horror stories.  They gave her nightmares and popped in her head throughout the day, like this ridiculous question during her wedding. Allie sighed. Maybe she could try; afterall, it'd be a convenient marketing plan.

Six months later Greg wheeled his suitcase through the airport security line.  "Allie, I'll only be gone two weeks.  Why don't you visit your sister? Maybe you'll find fresh ideas for your new book."

"How can anything help?  My boss, Ed, keeps me working overtime.  It's like he can read my mind. He calls the second I pull my manuscript out and blocks my time with some project guaranteed to boost my career."

After work that night, Allie drove home.  She sat in front of her computer for hours as Ed's latest project rumbled through her mind.  Allie stomped out of the study.  "I can't focus on my WIP. That project keeps shoving every story idea out of hy head. Maybe I need to visit my sister, like Greg said."

An hour later she pulled into her sister's driveway. Allie giggled as the front door popped open. "John, why are still awake?"

"Anty Allie.  Will you tell me a story?"

His mother scooped him up and sighed.  "Hi, Sis."

Allie grabbed her purse and laughed.  Moments later she snuggled with her nephew on the sofa.  "Why aren't you asleep?"

"Anty Allie, I wanted you to tell me a story."

"What would you like to hear?"

"A story about a bear."

"Okay. Let me think." Allie glanced at her nephew's expectant eyes.  I need a story that will help him sleep. Unlike weeks before, an idea popped in her head.

 "All right, John.

One night, after summer and fall ended, Mother Wise Bear handed her son, Bear Don't Sleep, a new blanket.  'It's time to go to bed.  Winter will soon be here.'

'But Momma, I want to play.'

She set the blanket on his bed then padded to the corner of the cave.  She raised her nose and sniffed the night air.  'Snow will soon be here. Come lay by me to keep warm.'

"But, Momma, I want to play. I'll only go outside for a little while."

'Bear-Don't Sleep, do you remember the stories about Always Hungry?'

He rolled his eyes. 'Yes, Momma. You've told me the story about that wolf so many times.'

Bear Don't Sleep curled near Mother Wise Bear and waited for her to fall asleep.  When her snoring grew loud he sneaked outside. He looked back and whispered,  'I only wanted to play one more game.'

He padded past Safety Meadow and down to Danger Tree.  'I can see the whole world from up the first branch.' He climbed to the lowest branch and stared at the world.  He yawned and stretch.  His eyes drifted shut. A soft snore startled him awake.  He looked around and saw nothing. His eyes flopped closed again.  A second later, Always Hungry sang his nightly cry. 

Bear jumped down from the branch and ran home.  He cuddled up to Mother Wise Bear and smelled her scent.  'I love you, Mama.'

Mother Wise Bear grinned. 'I love you too.'

Allie gazed down at little John.  She giggled at his snores. Her sister walked into the living room with a tray of tea and desserts.  "You see, you are a creative story teller.  I expect to find a book with your new name on it next year.  You could call it Mother Wise Bear by Allie Gory."

What is an Allegory?

Simply stated an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.  An allegory is an extended metaphor, especially a story in which fictional characters and actions are used to understand and express aspects of concepts relating to human existence.

John Bunyan used his masterful writing skills to describe the Christian life in a way that anyone, any age could understand.  Trapped in prison for daring to preach the Word of God, he used his time to pen Pilgrim's Progress, an allegory of the Christian life.

A parable is a type of Allegory. The parables Jesus told served a specific purpose.
Since this post turned out longer than I expected, I will discuss parables next week. 

The word of the LORD came to me:  "Son of man, set forth an allegory and tell the house of Israel a parable. Ezekiel 17:1-2


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I don't feel like I'm good with allegory or any type of writing devices. You, obviously, are a master! That was wonderful!!!!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks Sherrinda. Hope this brought a calm to your busy schedule. :)

Casey said...

I don't read many allergories, but I did love Pilgrim's Progress and Hinds Feet in High Places. I do love that they are giant metaphors for what we are trying to convey in the writing world and our faith. I don't know why more of them aren't being written today. Though Jim Rubart's book, Rooms was kind of like a allegory. That was a great story!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I haven't read Rooms, yet. I'll have to check it out.