Posted by: Jack Henry | March 21, 2023

Editor’s Corner: Allegory for your story

Hello, dear people!

Last time, we discussed the word adage, a saying that (over time) becomes an acceptable truth. Today I’m going to continue my list of literary terms and examples. The word of the day is allegory. From Merriam-Webster, we have these definitions:

1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence

also: an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression

2: a symbolic representation

Now, that sounds a little bit like an adage just reading the description. In some resources, they also compare allegories to fables and parables. The real distinction here is the mention of symbolic fictional figures and that an allegory can be part of a story or painting. Think: visual. You can see a painting and you can create visuals in your head while you are reading an allegorical story. I think two examples that help to define this word are the book Animal Farm (by George Orwell) and The Hunger Games trilogy of movies or books.


One of the most famous examples of allegory is Animal Farm, by George Orwell. On its surface, Animal Farm is a story about farm animals that rebel against their farmer. The underlying story, however, concerns Orwell’s disillusionment with the Bolshevik Revolution and is an indictment of the Russian government.

Similarly, there are numerous internet resources (and someone’s dissertation) on why The Hunger Games is a political allegory for the American Revolution (or French Revolution or the gladiator Spartacus uprising against the Romans). The primary message is that powerful people can do awful things, and that people must rebel to rebalance the scales.

I hope those examples help cement the concept of allegory in your noggins! I know that they did for me.

For more allegory examples and some notes on the different kinds of allegory you might find in books, movies, or songs, see SmartBlogger.

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | Call via Teams |

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