I used to have fun teaching Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" to my basic
writing students.  That piece is rife with descriptions that allow visual
depiction -- drawings -- to show the plight of the audience, which can then be
related to society as a whole.  There are a few interprettions of the
protagonist -- the "philosopher", the "rotten apple", the "rebel", and each can
be explored within the context of the allegory.  Of course, there is much more
that has to go into the background work to help students interpret the piece --
a basic introduction to the concept of socialization, a basic introduction to
the concept of Idealism, etc.  All of this took me about three weeks, with the
classes meeting for three to five hours per week.  I didn't expect students to
write "scholarly" essays, but it was a wonderful way to introduce them to the
idea that information from many sources can be used to synthesize information
and critically analyze any work of literature.


Raymundo Rosales wrote:

> Hello,
>  Luther College's curriculum for first year students includes the year-long
> common course, "Paideia". This year, the syllabus includes Dante's Inferno.
> At the Paideia Faculty meeting today, we tossed around ideas for assisting
> students to "unveil" allegories. Would you have a moment to share a tip or
> two on the kinds of tools students might need to approach allegorical texts?
> One of my concerns is that in teaching allegorical texts, as with any other
> text,  we might fall into the trap of teaching our reading of the allegory,
> or the translator's, and make students deficient for not being able to
> "see" beyond the allegorical veils.
> Thank you in advance,
> Raymundo
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> G. Raymundo Rosales, Director
> Student Academic Support Center
> Coordinator, Disability Services
> Luther College
> Decorah, IA     52101
> 319-387-1270
> 319-387-1129 (fax)