The Use Of Allegory English Literature Essay


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First declared in English in 1382, the word "allegory" comes from Latin "allegoria", the latinisation of the Greek word - "veiled language, figurative".. In classical literature two of the best-known allegories are the cave in Plato's "Republic". Medieval thinking accepted allegory as having a "reality underlying any rhetorical or imaginary uses". Since significant stories are nearly always related to larger issues, allegories may be read into many stories, sometimes cover-up the author's actual meaning.

One of the really allegoric genres is gothic literature due to its considerable amount symbolism. Two stories that are clear example of the use of good allegory are "Where are you going, where have you been?" of Joyce Carol Oats and "The fall of the house of Usher" of Edgar Allan Poe. The first one is a "frequently anthologized" short story. It was freely modified into the 1985 film Smooth Talk, starring Laura Dern and Treat Williams. The main character of Oates's story is Connie, a beautiful but full of herself 15-year-old girl, who has a very unstable with her mother, who is perhaps jealous of her and her quiet older sister. The girl spends most of her evenings picking up boys at a "Big Boy" restaurant, and one evening catches the attention of a stranger in a gold jalopy covered with mysterious writing. While her parents are away at her aunt's barbecue party, two men stop in front of her house and call Connie out. She recognizes the driver, Arnold Friend, as the man from the drive-in restaurant, and is at charmed by the intriguing and very good looking stranger in his stylish skinny jeans and plain white T-shirt. He tells Connie he is eighteen and has come to take her for a ride in his car with his friend Ellie. Eventually the girl begins to understand that the young boy is actually not so young and he begins to frighten her. As the girl refuses to go with him, he becomes more forceful and aggressive, saying that he will harm her family until Connie is forced to leave with him and do what he wants of her. The story ends as Connie leaves her front terrace; her final destiny is left unclear. The name of the young boy - Arnold friend: already raises up suspicion, it is very unusual and at the same time slightly airy. A big factor is that he is always wearing shades and hiding his eyes and had a very calm and persuasive voice. Everything about this character is suspicious and it is as if he symbolizes something very obvious, yet we cannot figure out what almost until the end. The detail that really makes us understands what he represents is when his feet were hovering. When he is leaning down, standing on Conies porch and his feet are slightly wobbling in his black boots as if they 3 sizes too big. All those details add up and we begin to see that Arnold Friend actually represents the devil.

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in September 1839. The story starts with the anonymous storyteller arriving at the house of his childhood friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a far-away part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. Roderick later informs the narrator that his sister has died and insists that she be laid for two weeks in a family tomb in the house before being permanently buried. The narrator attempts to calm Roderick by reading aloud The Mad Trist, a novel concerning a knight named Ethelred who fell in love with a solitary person dwelling in an attempt to escape a likely storm, only to find a palace of gold secured by a dragon. As the narrator reads of the knight's aggressive entry into the dwelling, cracking and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house. This was the sister Madeline, who actually turned out to be living and after she fell in the brothers hands they both died. The parallelism at the high point of "The Fall of the House of Usher" between "The Mad Trist" of Sir Lancelot Canning and the return of Madeline from her vault is often taken as the most powerful allegory in the story. Usher has not only buried Madeline too soon, but he has also buried too much of her. Careful analysis of what seems to be the symbolic theme of "Usher" shows that both narrator and "The Mad Trist" are not only important parts of the story but that their interpretation in terms of myth and depth psychology is necessary for a full understanding of it. Both stories are quite different because they are written in different times, epochs and have the different purpose and plot. But they have much the same in allegoric expressions which helps reader to understand what the stories are actually about.

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