An allegory is a literary work where characters and events symbolize meaning beyond the literal interpretation. While allegories are often entertaining stories, the author uses the allegory to provide thought-provoking commentary on important issues through the art of storytelling. Thus, allegories serve as extended metaphors that the reader must interpret to realize the author's attitude and expectations about the topic. The author normally writes an allegory about a topic he finds interesting or important. Story ideas for allegories can focus on topics such as politics, history, morals and abstract ideas.
Historical and Political Events
Allegories on historical events allows the writer to provide his view of why and how an event took place. A writer could use the Holocaust as a backdrop to question how the Germans' reasons for allowing the Nazi Party to carry out its atrocities against the Jews. A political allegory about the civil rights movement may follow a 1960's black family through the turn of the century to see if the family members benefited from the changes that occurred.
Writers can present abstract ideas such as hope and love through characters and setting. For instance, characters symbolizing love and hate can show the complexities of the relationship and the influence on people's perception of life. An allegory with a small town setting representing charity can show how giving and receiving in times of need evokes different reactions from the residents.
Moral allegories rely on the reader's value system to make a point. The writer tells a story about a character who must face the consequences for choices made. Details about the character's motives influence how the reader views the ending. Common topics of good versus evil and right versus wrong allow the writer to give his take on how each should be judged.
Before attempting to write an allegory, reading one provides insight as to how an allegory works. For instance, reading George Orwell's novel "1984" will show the style of a political allegory that focuses on the effects of a totalitarian government on the people. Once an idea has been chosen, the writer should decide the tone and theme of his allegory. From this point, he can draft an allegory that encompasses his interpretation of the idea.