Library of Congress

Teachers

The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > The Alfred Whital Stern Collection

[Detail] Lincoln Centennial Association

Allegory

An allegory is an extended metaphor, a story in which fictionalized characters and events stand for other people, things, events, or ideas. Fables are short allegories; The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is a historic example of an allegory; examples that are more contemporary include The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

“'Uncle Abe' and the Rebellious Boys” presents a humorous allegory in free verse about a fictional Lincoln faced with some children stealing his apples:

When “Uncle Abe” took a four years lease of "Uncle Sam's Farm," he found a host of rebellious boys on the trees stealing apples,
Seeing the injury they were doing, he most respectfully requested them to come down.
Upon hearing his solicitation, the saucy blockheads told him plainly they would not.

From “'Uncle Abe' and the rebellious boys.”

  • Who might the “rebellious boys” in this story stand for? What historical events are the real subject of this allegory?
  • What is the tone of this allegory? Why would the writer use such a tone with this subject matter?
  • What is the purpose of this allegory?
  • Why would someone choose to express ideas and opinions through an allegory?