Allegory Encourages Self-reflection and Multi-cultural Understanding in a College Communications Course

Bettina P. Murray


Urban college students (n=179) from diverse cultural backgrounds and regions received instruction in the writing of short narratives, or allegories, to express generalizations about human behavior. At the beginning of the three-month semester students were given samples of allegories concluding with a lesson and then were asked to create an original allegory. These original narratives were analyzed and their conclusions categorized. Students’ allegories expressed diverse cultural values although there were cross-cultural similarities. Findings indicated Asian students expressed significant interest in attaining wisdom and a balanced life over time. Latinx emphasized attaining self-respect, love, loyalty and fair treatment. Eastern Europeans were concerned over breaking a trust. Being deceived by appearances was a mutual concern for North Americans, Latinx and Europeans. At the semester’s end a survey of student reactions indicated students gained increased cultural understanding from sharing their work. Implications are that allegory may be used as a literary device to achieve self-reflection and understanding of other cultures.


Allegory, Multicultural, College, Values, Narratives, Diversity

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