Monday, February 10, 2014

The Philosophy of Writing: Allegory

We've been on the "Philosophy of Writing" column now for a few weeks, and I plan to change things up a bit very soon. There were a few lingering topics that I wanted to address in the meanwhile, Allegory being one of them. I'm still not sure what I will do at the conclusion of this series, but I'm sure I can think of something. That, there, is the real challenge.

Allegory relates to hidden significance or subversive plots, particularly when disguised by a seemingly unrelated subject matter. We've all heard of Allegorical stories dealing with politics. Animal Farm stands as the most remarkable in recent memory. These stories deal with hot button issues or particular positions with lots of baggage, so sometimes being covert when trying to discuss these kinds of things is the best policy. The philosophy behind the Allegory and why it's employed in fiction is useful to understand, nevertheless.

The best kind of writing, I feel, is the writing that gets you in trouble. I enjoy lampooning individuals and events because it's exhilarating. Also, because, when I think something is stupid, I want to write about how it's stupid. I deal with things at my job all the while that I think are stupid, why not write about it? How to go about doing that, then, becomes the issue at hand, and how to do it while still covering your ass is the other.

Allegorical stories revolve around subliminal stories. There needs to be some semblance in structure and organization pertaining to the set up of the allegory in order for the comparison to work. Note that allegory doesn't always have to be satirical. There are plenty of ways to write allegory without poking fun at something, or someone. If you analyze Animal Farm for instance, the allegory works so well because a farm is a natural hierarchy. Animals are raised in captivity by humans, which represent a higher form of responsibility or rule. Also, using animals to represent commoners works because a barnyard animal needs structure and organization to survive. They receive food from someone in order to survive. So when you construct the world your allegory takes place in, there needs to be a correlation between the setting and the structure you are integrating into your allegory. If someone asked me to make an allegory to the DMV, I would use an institution that performs the exact opposite in function.

What if going to the local amusement park was like the DMV? The lack of organization, complete apathy of the ride operators, and the unbearable waiting to execute a task that takes 30 seconds to complete, would be easy to point out by using the amusement park as an easy parallel.

As I said before, not all Allegory needs to be satirical in nature. To go over this I want to go into depth, so let's reconvene next week to continue our discussion of allegory.

To be Concluded...

(UPDATE) Just kidding! I forgot where I was going to take this one. Oh well...


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