AP English Literary Devices

Topic: HistoryPearl Harbor
Sample donated:
Last updated: May 7, 2019
Allegory (Definition)
An extended narrative in which items represent abstract qualities and intend a second meaning.

Allegory (Example)
The Good Samaritan – right thinking and compassionate peopleThe Serpent (Adam and Eve) – The tempter, or true evil

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Alliteration (Definition)
Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are close to one another; Falls under the umbrella term “Anaphora”

Alliteration (Example)
… I am cabined, cribbed, confined…

– Shakespeare… After life’s fitful fever..

. – Shakespreare

Allusion (Definition)
A reference to a well-known person, place, or thing

Allusion (Examples)
Sir Lancelot fought with Herculean strength – Reference to Hercules, the mythological heroEnglish has always been my Achilles heel – Reference to the weak spot of Achilles

Anachronism (Definition)
Something that is misplaced in a story because it is out of time

Anachronism (Examples)
Julius Caesar – A clock strikes despite the fact there were no clocks in Caesar’s time.Ben-Hur – Charlton Heston wears a wristwatch during the chariot race.

Analogy (Definition)
Comparison of two similar but different things, usually to clarify an action or a relationship.

Analogy (Example)
“Harrison Ford is like one of those sports cars that advertise acceleration from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in three or four seconds.


Anaphora (Definition)
Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. This is a deliberate form of repetition and helps make the writer’s point more coherent.

Anaphora (Examples)
“What we need in the United is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness..

.” – Robert F. Kennedy, Announcing the death of Martin Luther King

Anecdote (Definition)
A short, simple narrative of an incident; often used for humorous effect or to make a point.

Anecdote (Example)
I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island, who asked me to design and build a doghouse for Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be.

And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, “I’m sorry, but I never could read one of those things.””Give it to your husband or your minister to pass on to God,” I said, “and when God finds a minute, I’m sure he’ll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand.”She fired me. I shall never forget her. She believed that God lie people in sailboats much better than He liked people in motorboats. She could bot bear to look at a worm. When she saw a worm, she screamed. She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone thinks he sees what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon]

Antithesis (Definition)
The presentation of two contrasting images.

The ideas aqre balanced by word, phrase, clause, or paragraphs.

Antithesis (Example)
“I have a dream that…

they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have A Dream

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