Parables, Fables, and Tales


Parables,Fables, and Tales


For any piece of writing, tone refers to the aspects that reveal thewriter’s attitude towards the subject matter (DiYanni, 2008).Parables, fables, and tales have some similarities in that they teachthe audience particular lessons. Nevertheless, the device of tonediffers in the three disciplines. A parable refers to a story used tomake a spiritual point while using ordinary experiences (Slater,1968). Since parables have religious connotations, they tend to havea conservative tone that exemplifies orthodox ideas. On the otherhand, most fables assign human characteristics to animals whileteaching lessons on morals (Pérez Perozo, 1946). Consequently,fables have a sophomoric and humorous tone designed to appeal tochildren. However, a tale focuses on folklore in that the story ismore important than any revelations about the characters. Therefore,a tale has an entertaining tone that seeks to capture the reader’sattention.

The Prodigal Son by Luke is a parable that emphasizes thefather’s forgiveness, compassion, and love. The story uses asoothing tone to magnify the father’s willingness to show mercy tohis repentant son. Also, the parable shows an authoritative tone whenthe father exhorts the second son to overcome his disappointment. Onthe other hand, The Wolff and the Mastiff by Aesop is a fabledue to the moral contained at the story’s end. The fable has acomical tone that encourages one to value freedom above anythingelse.

However, The Widow of Ephesus by Petronius is a tale thatportrays the widow’s challenges and successes. A sorrowful tone isused to capture her anguish upon losing her partner. Nevertheless, anoptimistic and jubilant tone shows her joy at having another partner.From the recommended reading, Aesop’s The Peacock and the Craneis a fable that depicts a peacock mocking a crane. The fable usesa quick-witted tone to show the futility of judging others.


DiYanni, R., (2008) Approaches to fiction, poetry, and drama(2nd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pérez Perozo, V. M. (1946). Fables and fable-writers. BooksAbroad, 20(4), 363-367. Retrieved April 22, 2010 from JSTORdatabase.

Slater, S. (1968, October). Parables, analogs, and symbols.Religious Studies, 4(1), 25-36. Retrieved April 26, 2010 fromJSTOR database.