On Pilgrim's Progress

In Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, the author uses diction, symbolism, and imagery to convey his overall meaning in the passage of “The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” (p 69-74).   Christian, the pilgrim and protagonist in the story, finds himself in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and his faith is put to the test. He must “pass through it because it was the only way to the Celestial City ” (p 69). It is desolate, a “wilderness, a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and the Shadow of Death, a land that no one, except a Christian, is able to pass through and where no one lives” (p 70). Christian remembers the ultimate reward which waits for him at the end of his journey, and perseveres his way through the ditch of Quagmire and the valley, carrying “his sword, still drawn for fear that he might be assaulted” (p 71).

Bunyan uses imagery to describe the battles Christian faces along the way, his devotion to God remaining throughout the pilgrimage. The valley “itself, is pitch black” (p 70). “[He] could see Hobgoblins, Satyrs, and Dragons of the pit, [and] could hear in that Valley continual howling and screaming—[sounding] like people in indescribable misery who were bound in affliction and chains” (p 70).   He saw the “depressing clouds of confusion hanging over the Valley; and death, with wings spread, was hovering over it all. It is absolutely dreadful and in complete chaos” (p 70).

  As Christian continues on his journey, he encounters many blasphemous characters who try to steer him away from God. Bunyan uses diction to convey his meaning of the Christian life today using the pilgrim and his struggles and allegorical symbols. Christian’s testings “were even more severe than those he had encountered with Apollyon” ( p 70). But he knew God “was with him” (p 75), and even when he encounters spies for the evil one, he says, he “will walk in the strength of the Lord God, and they fell back and came no closer.” (p 72). Words like that said to the...