Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.
The chicken thigh will lay there drawing flies, and finally, squirming maggots emerge that you will try to name: Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Sponge Bob, Queen Elizabeth and 30-40 more little word compasses pointing the way toward endearment. But the maggots become flies and swarm around your head as if they knew you tried to rewrite their identities as shit eating, garbage munching, pestilence purveying, window pooping, skin crawling pests. When it is pity that motivates the naming of maggots with endearing words, love is debased and all affection is tossed off a cliff—a bag of garbage leaking disillusionment when it hits the rocks below—when the bag splits and strews its error-laden contents.
We do not have to understand this in order to understand it. But still, you may misunderstand it due to its apparent incoherence and distance from your shriveled sensibilities. Imagine you are a maggot. Your whole purpose is to become a fly. To go from totally disgusting, to less totally disgusting as you transform through time, squirming around and chewing on a rotting chicken thigh leaning at the bottom of a half-full dumpster. The dumpster is your birthplace, your home town. It’s where you went to school, it’s where you learned how to drive, and count on your fingers. You fell in love with your next-door maggot. You got married, turned into flies and searched for the good life—moving, moving, moving: one week living on a piece of “solid” dog shit, one week on a “newly remodeled” road-kill squirrel, 2 days on a “fixer-upper” Garden Snake chopped into pieces by a lawnmower. Moving. Moving. Moving, until you finally settle into a “palatial” cow manure pile and begin thinking about starting a family. But, one evening your fly-wife is terminated by an electric swatter—she lies in flames and smokes on the barn floor, by a workbench, somewhere in New York: all for landing on the rim of an open can of Diet Coke. Now you know what I’m talking about! Now you can grip the rope of my discourse and pull yourself up to a higher place! And where is that “higher” place? It’s over there. Crane your neck. Look up at your back porch light and watch the moths.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)
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