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What is a "symbolic narrative"?

I know a narrative is a story. But what exactly is a symbolic narrative?

Upon Googling, I have found that allegories and myths are symbolic narratives, but no real definition of what constitutes a symbolic narrative itself.

For some context, I have some reading comprehension exam study material and we are given a passage and asked to categorise it as a 1) logical abstraction, 2) personal reflection, 3) symbolic narrative, or 4)philosophical argument. But I can't figure out the exact meaning of symbolic narrative.

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    I'm guessing they simply mean allegory. – Dan Bron Oct 21 '16 at 21:32
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    Probably a narrative that doesn't specifically say that its an allegory but that they interpret as an allegory. I.e. a narration that many people might take as a simple narration but they don't. For instance, the creation story in Genesis. Is it an allegory? Is it not an allegory? In an academic context it will probably be treated as an allegory regardless what many readers might think to the contrary. – developerwjk Oct 21 '16 at 21:47
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    An even better example. Mark Twain's "The Fly." It seems to me like a simple philosophical argument: If a human being had created flies we'd put him in prison; flies only spread disease, etc. but since God created flies, we don't do nothing about it. But my English teacher back in high school insisted that this was an allegory. She claimed that God represented man and flies represented guns; and I argued with her, "then what does man represent?" Nothing of course; because its not an allegory, but she had to have it be one. – developerwjk Oct 21 '16 at 21:53
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    It's a narrative that stands symbolically for something else. For example, Little Red Riding Hood could be a symbol of innocence. Ergo, the story of Little Red Riding Hood could be seen as a symbolic narrative. A narrative that stands for something else. Not a literal story. For example, Huck Finn is not a symbolic narrative. – Lambie Oct 21 '16 at 22:47
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    @developerwjk Damn leftist teachers, eh? – deadrat Oct 21 '16 at 23:47
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Focus on the word narrative rather than symbolic and it might be more clear. Thus, essentially you'd recognize such passages as those primarily meant to tell a story (likely to make a point, given the context, but not necessarily) as opposed to 1) identifying and discussing some common elements among some things; 2) a self-exploring discussion (these should be relatively obvious); or 4) a broader philosophical discussion. The key is to not confuse narratives for philosophical arguments just because they may be trying to make a point, or conversely, get thrown off by passages that use some sort of allegorical example (i.e., something "symbolic," like mythology) to illustrate a philosophical issue. At their cores, narratives are stories, and philosophical discussions are arguments/debates/etc.

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