West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

West Chester University

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Information
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements
  LIT 165 Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assigmments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2005)
  Adieu to Imaginary Worlds
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Notes on 'Before the Law'
  Samuel Beckett Links
  Notes on 'Waiting for Godot'
  Approaching 'Waiting for Godot'
  Notes on 'Axolotl' by Julio Cortazar
  Notes on 'EPICAC' by Kurt Vonnegut
  DIRECTIONS: Independent Project
  Suggested Readings: Independent Project
  Utopia/Dystopia Links
  Character Analysis: Brave New World
  Analyzing the Brave New World
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on the Brave New World
  A Critique of BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Dante Links
  Inferno: Final Destinations, Cantos XXXII-XXXIV
  Inferno: Malebolge, Cantos XVIII-XXXI
  Inferno: Questions/Analysis, Cantos XII - XVII
  Structure in the Inferno: Analysis, Cantos V - XI
  Inferno: Questions for Analysis, Cantos I - V
  Introducing Canto I
  Approaching the Divine Comedy
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Our Goals for Studying the Inferno
  Assignment Sheet: PAPER #1
  The Birthmark
  Leaf By Niggle
  Responses to Leaf By Niggle
  'On Fairy Stories' by J.R.R. Tolkien
  Notes on Ovid and 'Metamorphoses'
  Analyzing the Mythic Tales
  The Four Functions of Myth
  Myth and Metaphor
  Myth - Links
  Filtering the Introduction to 'Fantastic Worlds'
  'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' and 'The Zebra Storyteller
  Introducing the 'Imaginary Worlds' Theme
  Alice In Wonderland
  The Metamorphosis

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2004)
  Conference Schedule: 4/21 and 4/26
  Commentary: Following Up Your Response
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources
  What is Argument?
  Parts of an Argument
  Casebook Assignment Sheet
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Essay#1
  Expressive Writing
  Short Stories About Identity
  Thoughts on Stories About Identity
  Poems About Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Mind-map: Identity

ENG Q20: Basic Writing (Fall 2004)
  ENG Q20 Syllabus
  Frederick Douglass Excerpt
  Propaganda Analysis
  How to Detect Propaganda
  George Orwell's Politics and the English Language
  Propaganda Analysis Exercise

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library


~~ Allegory ~~

From INFOPLEASE Encyclopedia:

ALLEGORY: in literature, a symbolic story that serves as a disguised representation for meanings other than those indicated on the surface. The characters in an allegory often have no individual personality, but are embodiments of moral qualities and other abstractions. The allegory is closely related to the parable, fable, and metaphor, differing from them largely in intricacy and length. A great variety of literary forms have been used for allegories. The medieval morality play Everyman, personifying such abstractions as Fellowship and Good Deeds, recounts the death journey of Everyman. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, a prose narrative, is an allegory of man's spiritual salvation. Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene, besides being a chivalric romance, is a commentary on morals and manners in 16th-century England as well as a national epic. Although allegory is still used by some authors, most notably, George Orwell, in Animal Farm, its popularity as a literary form has declined in favor of a more personal form of symbolic expression (see symbolists).


Any type of fiction that has multiple levels of meaning can be called an allegory.

One familiar kind of allegory is the fable, which has two levels of meaning. On the surface the story will usually be about animals, and it will usually employ the device called "personification," which attributes human characteristics to non-human subjects. In an allegory it's possible to jump to another level of meaning in which the animals represent specific people or specific concepts or doctrines. The way the animals interact and the way the plot unfolds says something about the nature of people or the value of ideas.

Fables aren't always for children, though it's a form we associate closely with children's stories. We all remember Aesops Fables, the ancient Greek collection of tales that never seem to grow old. The Spencer Holst story "The Zebra Storyteller" is in the tradition of Aesops Fables, though it might not be entirely comprehensible to children. A more well known book like George Orwell's Animal Farm similarly creates an imaginary world of fable for adults that is strongly allegorical, achieving an excellent balance between levels of meaning. On the literal level, readers can be moved by the animals themselves. When Boxer is taken away by the horse slaughterer, for instance, it doesn matter much what he "represents," we feel bad for him in any case. Reading the story on the symbolic level adds to its meaning. On this symbolic level, we're in the presence of Orwell's scathing critique of Soviet Russia.

There's a third level of meaning, as well. Maybe the pigs don't have to specifically represent Soviet leaders. Perhaps we read them as symbolic of tyranny in general. Orwell's depiction of them need not be limited to the historical characteristics of actual people; they may be symbolic of corrupt power in general.

"Allegory," Dictionary of the History of Ideas)

Allegory, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Wikipedia

Plato's Allegory of the Cave, University of Washington professor's course page for Philosophy 320: History of Ancient Ideas







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