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The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

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Much more could be said about the story qualities of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but the really essential final thing that we need to note is that Bunyan’s story is an allegory. An allegorical
story is one in which the literal, physical level of action is intended as a picture of something else. Double meaning is at the heart of allegory. Te details in an allegorical story stand for something else. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, a slough or bog (modeled, incidentally, on a notorious bog on the outskirts of Bunyan’s home town) stands for spiritual despair over one’s lost state.

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The Pilgrim’s Progress is a paradox. On the one hand it is a work of folk literature. Tis makes it a book of the common people, just like the Bible. Trough the ages, parents have read The Pilgrim’s Progress to their children much as they read Bible stories to them. Reinforcing this identity of being a book for ordinary people rather than literary scholars is the religious nature of the book. It is a book of edification first, and beyond that it offers whatever entertainment value we might wish to find in it.

Much more could be said about the story qualities of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but the really essential final thing that we need to note is that Bunyan’s story is an allegory. An allegorical
story is one in which the literal, physical level of action is intended as a picture of something else. Double meaning is at the heart of allegory. Te details in an allegorical story stand for something else. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, a slough or bog (modeled, incidentally, on a notorious bog on the outskirts of Bunyan’s home town) stands for spiritual despair over one’s lost state.

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