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Allegory: Mummer’s Play

An allegory is a style of writing a fictional story in which details and characters represent something deeper and more significant. Mumming is an allegorical style that originated in England and traveled to Appalachia as an interlude in the Christmas season. Troupes of actors would present these allegorical plays, receiving food, drinks and tips as pay. A mishmash of storytellers, musicians and partygoers would converge at someone’s home for the celebration. This mummer’s play is uniquely Appalachian, written by Joy D’Elia and Tommy Bledsoe.

Classroom activities and discussion questions available on PBS LearningMedia.

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