Explore some of the differences between a fable or parable (which often relies on plot and has a clear ‘moral’ or meaning) and a short story (which usually does is not only about plot and often cannot be ‘explained’ as easily).
1) In a first paragraph, try to briefly give the reader what it is about your chosen parable or fable that ‘gets your attention.’ Does it have good ‘story value’? Is it easy to remember and re-tell? Speculate on why is it that your parable has existed for hundreds (or even thousands) of years. What is the ‘moral’ of this story? Is the moral or meaning of the parable or tale clear to the reader? Is it possible to derive other meanings from the story beside the official ‘moral’? Why or why not? Also, is plot (or a plot ‘twist’), the most important ‘element’ in a parable or fable? Try to tell us the plot twist or moral using a direct quote and cite.
2) In a second paragraph (or two), try to describe what element or elements in your chosen short story are most ‘original,’ ‘interesting’ or ‘appealing’ to you beyond the plot in your story. For instance, you might describe a setting, a character, effective dialogue (the way characters speak) or a decision a protagonist must make. (For example, in “Everyday Use,” the mother decides to give the family quilts to Maggie. In Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator confesses to murder even though he has gotten away with the crime. These are complex decisions that aren’t easy to explain — like in a fable.) Another short story element is point of view (the skillful control of what we see and hear as readers). Try to anchor your ‘reading’ of this second text using at least 3 actual short passages from the story which are presented and cited using last name and page number, for example, (Walker 279). Make sure you explain what your quotes ‘mean’ using a ’quote sandwich’ that a) introduces, b) presents and then c) explains each short quote.


Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.