O Sweet Daughter of Jupiter

I was walking in a forest so deep where I could not even see the stars. I could hear animals howling as the wind picked up speed. Suddenly, I felt something touch me. I turned back and saw a woman. She was clothed in white. Her hair was so light a shade of blonde, it was white. She wore a crown of olive leaves, and slippers of gold, and yet the most distinct, the most frightful, features of this beautiful woman were her eyes. She had no iris. Her entire eye was a cloudy sapphire, for she was blind. Nonetheless she stared right at me, right into my eyes, into the window of my soul and I was lost. Lost in contemplation, a slave to lustful passions , vanities and pride. Then she spoke, “Bona Fortuna.”

At this she raised her left hand, as if to dismiss me, and within a moment I was accompanied by three figures clothed all in white cloth and armor. Their faces covered, along with their hands and feet, wearing iron gloves and galoshes. Not an inch of human flesh was visible, and each one carried a scythe. These men were my escorts ordered to take me away. To take my body, my mind and my soul, but I was not ready to leave. My mind, my body and my soul were not ready to leave.

Anxiety and fear overcame my mind, while my blood boiled at a mortal temperature. I could see the woman was amused. She smiled, and her expression was laughter. The clothed creatures continued to show me out. When I turned my attention from the woman to see where I was going I saw no light. In fact, I saw nothing, but I heard the cries. I heard the cries and the screams and the curses of many in suffering. The rattling of chains and the roar of a fire. The beating sound of my own heart was easily audible. Suddenly and unexplainably my fear became a courage; my anxiety, an overwhelming tranquility. I was at ease, and in one swift motion I left my escorts. I sprinted toward the woman, the woman whom all men fear, and I grabbed her by her precious curls. Her crown fell to the ground and the gasps of the gods roared in thunder.

And so I cried, “This life I will leave exhausted! My death will be within the fray. Lady Fortune may control my surroundings, but never what is inside of me.”

And so I turned to the heavens, and the stars became visible to me as I became visible to the stars.

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8 comments

  1. scaramouche051387 · · Reply

    Hound of the Lord (What is your real name, by the way?),

    What would you say is the value in a narrative that is controlled completely by allegory?

    Curiously yours,

    Jacob T. Reilly

    1. Jacob,

      I think the value which is contributed to literature and society by allegories is that of creating an adventure of what may happen or may have happened (Aristotle). It provides a new and/or different perspective.

      It is a way of presenting beauty in virtue. To get one’s point across through fictional characters that have no material influence on the world, but are so adaptable and relatable yet sometime so extreme that either way they can have a profound interior influence on the reader and/or listener. Creating extremes and exaggerations that stir the imagination and in the end, just flat out get the point across.

      I guess that might answer your question. Personally I am a fan of a good allegory. Some of my favorites include:

      Lord of the Flies By Golding
      Aesop’s Fable
      Animal Farm by Orwell
      Parable’s told by Jesus Christ

      God Bless.

      In Christ,
      Dominic

      1. scaramouche051387 · ·

        I responded as a separate comment, because the cascade tabbing of the reply system seriously cramps writing and reading space. So see below!

  2. scaramouche051387 · · Reply

    Dominic,

    Well, your answer didn’t quite answer my question, but that is likely a result of my lack of clarity. Below you will find my immediate reactions to your answer, which include further questions that you can feel free to answer or not. However, before you read my reactions, let me try to clarify my original question:

    Allegory is defined by the OED as “The use of symbols in a story, picture, etc., to convey a hidden or ulterior meaning, typically a moral or political one; symbolic representation. Also: the interpretation of this.” This definition is more or less how everyone refers to and understands allegory. The definition describes allegory as a literary device, something that can be present in any given piece of literature, even philosophical or political discourses or everyday speech. When all the characters and actions in a story or poem are allegorical, what results is a self-contained allegory, a “narrative that is completely controlled by allegory.” There is something about the symbols in an allegory that isolates both the signifier and the signified from actual human experience. The author, presciently, constructs the meaning of the story, and does not let the meaning naturally proceed out of the representation of human people, actions, thoughts, and/or emotions. My question arises from this aspect of self-contained allegory. What do you think is good about writing a self-contained allegory, a narrative or story that is entirely controlled by a preconstructed and unnatural symbolism?

    I hope that clarifies my question. Now here are my immediate reactions to reading your response:

    “I think the value which is contributed to literature and society by allegories…”

    By “contribute value,” do you mean “allegories make literature and society valuable in this way…?” If so, how do allegories make society valuable? I agree that they, when used effectively, can be a reason for valuing a particular piece of literature.

    “…is that of creating an adventure of what may happen or may have happened (Aristotle).”

    Allegories often do not create adventures. (I suppose this depends on what you mean by “adventure.” So, what do you actually mean?) Moreover, all fiction, regardless of the presence of allegory, deals with the what may happen or may have happened; so what distinguishes allegory? And where in Aristotle is this written?

    “It provides a new and/or different perspective.”

    I think allegory can provide a new perspective, but the potential for this entirely depends on the way the author uses the allegory.

    “It is a way of presenting beauty in virtue.”

    Honestly, I have no idea what this means. Beauty in virtue? Do all allegories have morals and ethics for their ends? Do you mean “It is a way of presenting virtue in a beautiful way.”?

    “To get one’s point across through fictional characters that have no material influence on the world, but are so adaptable and relatable yet sometime so extreme that either way they can have a profound interior influence on the reader and/or listener.”

    This description is not particular to allegory, but rather to any fiction that sometimes makes use of hyperbolic characters.

    “Creating extremes and exaggerations that stir the imagination and in the end, just flat out get the point across.”

    Yes, extremes and exaggerations sometimes can be effective literary devices, but it seems you are equating literature with rhetoric (getting the point across). If this is even somewhat true, are not exaggerations often terribly unpersuasive, except perhaps to an audience who needs no persuading?
    I guess that might answer your question. Personally I am a fan of a good allegory. Some of my favorites include:
    I am a fan of good allegory too.
    Lord of the Flies By Golding

    Aesop’s Fable

    Animal Farm by Orwell

    Parable’s told by Jesus Christ”

    Yes, Lord of the Flies is “allegorical,” meaning there are elements of allegory within it, but it is a primarily a novel (novels cannot exist as pure allegory) and to read it simply as an allegory is to do it an injustice and miss the point of the book. This is true of Animal Farm, but to a lesser degree. Also, if I am not mistaken, Christ’s parables are all either metaphors or actual stories about fictional people doing fictional things, a fact which, although they certainly contain allegorical elements, does not make them allegories pure and simple.

    I would love to continue this topic, and I think this type of dialogue is exactly what “The Catholic Dormitory” needs and is striving to foster, so please let me know if anything needs to be clarified.

    All the best,

    Jacob

    1. Jacob,

      I do indeed love this discussion and I would enjoy continuing it as well.

      I was however, wondering if you could perhaps copy and repost the question on the forum?

      https://moot.it/thecatholicdormitory#!/

      I think this would a great discussion to kick start it’s use, and after I think about this I will get back to you on the forum. (Honestly, the study of literature is not my forte, so it might take a little longer for my response than someone who has spent any time on the subject. Sadly because I, regrettably, have not thus far in my young life.)

      Anyways I look forward to doing some research, re-reading your comment and putting something together. Hopefully a suitable answer.

      In Christ,
      Dominic

      1. scaramouche051387 · ·

        I think that is an excellent idea. I look forward to reading your response on the forum section. I will move the conversation there later this evening.

        Jacob

      2. Awesome. I look forward to this. And I think I have thought of something a tad deeper then my primary, rushed response. Hopefully it will be good. haha

        In Christ,
        Dominic

      3. scaramouche051387 · ·

        Don’t worry about “deepness,” a ridiculously relative term. 🙂 This is something I haven’t entirely thought through either. So, even though “Literature” is my field of study (I just began a PhD program in English Lit. this past week), I consider this conversation as something remarkably Socratic, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. Hopefully, it will improve both of us as creative writers. I just moved the whole exchange over to The Forum.

        Jacob

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