When a story teaches you a strong moral lesson, you might want to know what words we use to describe it. That way, you can describe it to other people, and hope that they read about it too. This article will explore all the words you need to know.
Which Words Can Describe A Story With A Moral Lesson?
There aren’t too many words we can use to describe these types of morals and lessons. However, the following list will provide you with the best ones we believe work:
The preferred version is “allegory.” We can use it to talk about any story where certain things are represented by characters or actions. This could then be used to help us teach a moral lesson, which is important for many people to learn.
Let’s start with the preferred version. We can talk about “allegory” whenever someone has created a story that we think will be useful for others to read. If those stories teach valuable lessons, they are always worth it.
“Allegory” means that something is created to represent particular things that relate to morality. We can use the characters, settings, or plot points to create a narrative that helps people to understand what moral lesson they should take away from it.
The definition of “allegory,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a story, play, poem, picture, or other work in which the characters and events represent particular qualities or ideas that relate to morals, religion, or politics.”
Typically, we find “allegory” everywhere we go. It’s common in both religion and political circles, where morality isn’t the overall goal. Instead, people preaching “allegory” typically want people to get involved with their religion or political party.
When talking about certain stories being allegorical, we can talk about the moral meanings behind them. While it might not be obvious at first, after a study of the prose, we might be able to find hidden meanings that try to teach us how to be and do good.
You might see “allegory” appear in the following ways:
- The allegory that I read taught me all I need to know about what happens in the government and how to avoid it.
- This allegory was everything I never knew I needed. It’s amazing how much is left out of common knowledge.
- I have created an allegory that I would love for you to give me feedback on.
- You should teach everyone about your allegory because I’m sure they’d love to hear all about it.
- I prefer moral teachings as part of my allegories, which is why I don’t stop until I’ve made sure that everyone understands the point.
Now we’ll look at “parable,” which is almost identical to “allegory.” We can use it in much the same way, though the stories related to it are usually shorter.
A “parable” is any short and simple story that we are supposed to take something moral from. It doesn’t have to be long (sometimes only a few lines). The idea is that we understand the message behind the text, and we change ourselves accordingly.
The definition of “parable,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a short, simple story that teaches or explains an idea, especially a moral or religious idea.”
Parables teach us how to be better people. We often believe that we’ve got everything figured out, but you might learn that you are not perfect upon reading a parable.
That’s okay. No one is perfect. It just means you have to work on yourself and learn from the mistakes that the parable has taught you.
A “parable” might work in the following ways:
- This parable about what it means to be a good person is what I need to get my grandfather for Christmas.
- I didn’t mean to write a parable, but it turns out that I did a thoroughly impressive job.
- You have created a parable that teaches its readers to be kind to those around them.
- The parable allows us to think back on what we’ve read and reflect our findings on ourselves.
- I don’t like any of the parables in this religious text, though I know you do, so I won’t slate them further!
Again, “fable” is very similar to the two words above it. We can use it to refer to a whole range of stories that teach us how to be kind or just in the face of adversity.
A fable is a story that teaches us morals based on truths. They can be partially or fully true, but we use the meaning and message of the story to teach others about the importance of being morally kind and just.
The definition of “fable,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a short story that tells a general truth or is only partly based on fact, or literature of this type.”
The best part about teaching people through “fables” is that they are often based on fact. We can tell people that if they do not fix their ways soon, they will end up experiencing exactly the same thing as the person we featured in the story.
That usually works well when we try to convince people to change. If nothing else, it works as a fear tactic to make people see that there is more to life than these stories, and in order to avoid being a character in the story, they need to learn moral value.
You could use “fable” as follows:
- The fable of our fathers is something we should teach when we’re trying to get children to behave.
- The fables I’ve read in these books make me want to cry.
- I have learned so much from these fables, and I wish my children would be interested in them too.
- You should read more about these fables because they have a truly fascinating origin story.
- I don’t want to go through any more fables with you because I don’t think it’ll sink in.
Finally, let’s look at “edify.” It’s not a common word to use, and it’s the only verb on this list, but it still works well to talk about moral stories.
“Edify” means to improve someone’s mind. Usually, we make this improvement by teaching them moral lessons from the stories they read. While it doesn’t have to strictly relate to morals, it works well in this case and is the verb we generally associate with it.
The definition of “edify,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to improve someone’s mind.”
You’ll find that many people edify themselves by simply studying. One way to improve your mind is to learn more information, and what better way is there to learn than to study?
In other cases, you’ll find that people are happy to learn messages through hidden meanings. As long as they’re fairly obvious, or you can point them out to them, the moral lessons that some stories teach can be seen as edified examples.
From there, we hope that the moral stories are enough to make people rethink the way they act in the world. This verb is the perfect way to show that people are capable of improvement and change.
You might see “edify” work as follows:
- I have read many texts that were designed to edify us, and they all did a good job.
- The moral lesson from this story is edifying, and I gave it to my mother.
- The edifying qualities of this religious text are supposed to draw more people in, not turn them away.
- You can’t convince me that this edifying prose wasn’t deliberate.
- Stop telling me I need to edify myself. There are plenty of factual stories out there that I prefer.
What Does It Mean That A Story Teaches A Moral Lesson?
It might help for us to run you through what it means for a story to teach you a moral lesson. While it’s great to learn about all the synonyms, it isn’t all that useful if we don’t know more about them.
A story that teaches a moral lesson is one that has an overarching idea behind it. We can learn from the messages of the story, which are often hidden behind the lines. Typically, these stories are fictional, and they teach us how to act or behave in society.
Some of the most famous moral stories you might be familiar with come from religious texts like the Bible. Within these texts, we are taught how to behave with other people based on the stories of the people within it.
While we don’t have to take everything they do literally, it can still help us to learn about others and how we should act. For example, a great moral idea from a story would be “love thy neighbors,” which teaches us to treat others the same way we want to be treated.
Of course, moral stories aren’t strictly for religions. We can find them anywhere in fictional writing. If the writer wants to include hidden meanings that are designed to teach us moral values, that is up to them.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.