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A parable is a story that is meant to deliver a specific message or lesson. It can be written in prose or verse, and usually serves as an analogy, but most parables differ from fables (which often focus on supernatural characters, animals or non-living creatures) in that they feature human beings as the central character. Parables are often referred to only in connection with the Bible, and many parables can be found in connection with Jesus and his teachings, such as "The Prodigal Son." Other characteristics of the parable include a narrative form of what might be considered a straightforward, though not specifically stated, "universal truth." The main character is usually faced with

... a moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences... The defining characteristic of the parable is the presence of a prescriptive subtext suggesting how a person should behave or believe. Aside from providing guidance and suggestions for proper action in life, parables frequently use metaphorical language which allows people to more easily discuss difficult or complex ideas. Parables teach an abstract argument, using a concrete narrative which is more easily grasped.

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