English – Writer’s License – Allegory

English is a language that comes with a lot of freedom. By freedom, I mean its usage can be bent according to the needs of the context or the writer. Though grammatically an error, the meaning of the sentence still holds. This is not limited just to poetry, but extends also to prose. One such freedom that a writer enjoys is the ability and his liberty to force his viewpoint on his readers. Whether the reader accepts it or not, is secondary. This form of opinionated writing inevitably finds itself a place, big or small, in all written works. For instance, when a writer says, “He was the tiger of the family, tending to and safeguarding it.”, the author automatically raises the your viewpoint of the subject to a newer level. This could be used in the negative sense too, when describing a villain. But that seldom happens; this is due to the fact that when you strengthen the villain in the plot, the hero gets more credibility once he has defeated the villain.

When the writer uses this style of writing through voice of his characters (as against a narrative), it is called as an allegory – an extended metaphor.

I found a passage in my Operating Systems text, where the author assumes the gender of the person in the context. Here is an extract:

A time-shared operating system allows many users to share the computer simultaneously. Since each action or command in the time-shared system tends to be short, only a little CPU is needed for each user. As the system switches rapidly from one user to the next, each user is given the impression that the entire computer system is dedicated to her use, even though it is being shared among many users.

Quoted from Operating System Concepts by Abraham Silberschatz, Peter Baer Galvin and Greg Gagne. (Topic 1.2.3 – Page 10)

Another interesting (but irrelevant to the current discussion, or is it?) quote from the same text. (Topic 1.2.2 – Page 9)

Idle lawyers tend to become politicians, so there is certain social value in keeping lawyers busy.

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