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Morals – Definition, Arts and Moral Tales

Grade 7
Jun 9, 2023

Reading – Morals

Most parents rely on stories to impart their children with essential life lessons.  Some books are preachy, while others have a talent for discreetly sliding in the message. We tend to assume that if the message is nuanced, the child will not grasp it and will need to be clearly instructed.

It is critical to appreciate a narrative because it has elements that assist the child to connect with his or her interests. This becomes essential as the child must acquire a value or a lesson from the story. Yes, books are an excellent tool to teach children vital lessons, but that should not be the end purpose.

Now let us try to define what moral is:

A moral (from Latin morālis) is a message or lesson that is given through a tale or event. The moral can be left to the listener, reader, or viewer to figure out for themselves, or it can be stated expressly in a maxim. A moral is a lesson learned from a story or from reality.

The stated lesson of Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, in which the determined and plodding tortoise won a race against the much-faster but exceedingly arrogant hare, is “slow and steady wins the race,” is an example of an explicit maxim. Other morals, on the other hand, can often be derived from the story itself, such as the fact that arrogance or overconfidence in one’s ability can lead to failure or the loss of a race, event, or contest.


The usage of stock characters allows the writer to express the story’s moral by removing psychological depth and presenting issues that arise in the interplay between the characters, allowing the writer to develop a clear message. The moral may be more complex but no less evident in more rounded characters, such as those found in Shakespeare’s plays, and the writer may stress it out in different ways (see, for example, the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet).


The bulk of fictional writing has served to not only entertain but also to instruct, inform, or develop its audiences or readership throughout the history of recorded literature. The chorus’s job in a classical play, for example, was to remark on the proceedings and pull out a message for the audience to take away with them, but Charles Dickens’ novels are a vehicle for morality about Victorian Britain’s social and economic structure.

Morals have traditionally been clearer in children’s literature, with the phrase “The moral of the story is…” being used to introduce them. Explicit strategies like these have fallen out of favor in modern storytelling and are now mostly used for comedic effects.

“Better safe than sorry” (precautionary principle), “The evil deserves no aid”, “Befriend people you don’t like”, “Don’t judge people by their appearance”, “Slow and steady wins the race”, “Once started down the dark path, it will hold your destiny forever”, and “Your overconfidence is your weakness” are some examples. The most well-known fables with strong moral conclusions are Aesop’s Fables.

Moral Tales:

During the period 1780–1830, morals were a major focus of literature, particularly in children’s literature. Part of the reason for this was the 18th-century writings of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which drew attention to children as a reading audience.


Following in their footsteps, Thomas Day (1748–1789) penned Sandford and Merton, placing one young boy’s remarkable morality above another’s rapscallion nature. Maria Edgeworth (1776–1849) was a well-known moral tale author who wrote about how a wise adult can educate a youngster; “The Purple Jar” is one of her most famous stories.

Many other writers took up the idea of “a young heroine or hero attaining wisdom and maturity” at this period.



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