What is a Parable? Definition, Examples of Parables in Literature

Parable definition: A parable is defined as a short, realistic story that is written for the purpose of teaching a moral or religious lesson.

What is a Parable?

Parable meaning: Parables are short, realistic stories that teach moral or religious lessons are often written in response or to address a particular issue.

Example of a Parable

In the Bible, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to emphasis the importance of good character and charitable deeds.

Parable vs. Fable vs. Allegory

While parables, fables, and allegories are all written with the intention of teaching a moral there are some differences between them.

Fables teach moral lessons through fictional stories that often use animals as the central characters.

  • The most famous fables are the ones written by Aesop such as “The Lion and the Mouse”. This famous fable teaches the moral lesson that acts of kindness do not go unnoticed.

Allegory is the broad term used to define these stories. Therefore, both fables and parables fit under the broad category allegory.

The Function of Parables

Parables serve the function of teaching moral or religious lessons to readers. They show the benefits of behaving in code with the moral conduct of the religion or society they exemplify.

In addition to this, parables allow other people to read and understand the moral codes of different cultures and religions in which the parables originate.

How Parables Are Used in Literature

The story The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Aesop is a popular example of a parable. This story teaches the importance of honesty. This moral is taught through a young boy who lies to get attention. Eventually, he loses the trust of the village and has no help when he encounters a true crisis. This famous parable is often told to young children to teach the importance of being honest.

Another example of a parable is from the Bible in which the morality of helping others is preached. A story is told of a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead. This man was ignored by many a passerby until a Samaritan lent a helping hand despite the man’s poor appearance. Through this parable the readers learn the importance of helping those in need regardless of outward appearances or differences.

Summary: What are Parables?

Define parables in literature: Parables are short, realistic stories that teach moral or religious lessons.

Final Example:

In the Bible, the parable of “The Prodigal Son” shows the readers the importance of unconditional love and forgiveness. Even though the Prodigal Son wasted his father’s inheritance, it doesn’t mean he should be cast away.

The Bible teaches the idea that we are all sinners, and it is important to love people despite bad choices if they choose to repent for their sins.