AP Literary Terms – 10th, 11th, ; 12th

Topics: EntertainmentEvents

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Last updated: May 8, 2019

rhetorical question
question designed to draw attention, pause for thought

setting
time, place and social context in which a story takes place

symbol
an image that is itself but also stands for something more

situational irony
what we expect and what happens are not the same

repetition
use of key words, phrases, or ideas more than once, in close proximity

syllogism
a logical deduction that has three parts: a main premise, a secondary premise, and a conclusion

synecdoche
a part is substituted or used to represent the whole

sound devices
any of a number of literary elements such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, etc.

theme
main idea of a work of literature

sarcasm
cruel, rude form of verbal irony

scansion
analyzing and graphically marking poetry for stressed and unstressed patterns

syntax
the way words and phrases are connected to form sentences

stanza
a group of verse lines of the same structure and rhythm and rhyme scheme

satire
a type of writing that points out the follies and failings of man

stream of consciousness
literary style that attempts to capture thoughts, memories, impressions, often without punctuation or structure

structure
the organized, planned framework of a piece of literature

stereotyped character
stock character; character created to represent some standard archetypes

slang
informal words and expressions

alliteration
repetition of initial consonant sounds

ambiguity
vague, unclear, in literature, done on purpose

aphorism
short saying known for its wit and wisdom

anecdote
a short story used to illustrate a point

aside
speech in a drama where character speaks his mind and other characters on stage don’t “hear”

bathos
moving from the serious to the ridiculous

cacophony
harsh sounds; should reflect meaning and content

cliche
an overused expression that has lost meaning such as quick as lightning

catharsis
an emotional release – crying, laughing, fear

apostrophe
addressing an inanimate object as if it were alive and could respond

antagonist
character in opposition to the protagonist

assonance
repetition of the same vowel sounds in close proximity

confidante
one in whom others confide their confidences, secrets

denotation
dictionary definition of a word

diction
word choice

dramatic irony
the reader or audience knows more than the characters

conceit
an extended metaphor

consonance
repeated consonant sounds; not at the beginning of words

couplet
two lines, in successive order, that have end rhyme

enjambment
when a line of poetry runs from the end of one into another without stopping or pausing for punctuation

imagery
language that appeals to the five senses; creating pictures with words

free verse
poetry without formal structure, stanzas, or rhyme scheme

blank verse
poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter

heroic couplet
couplet that rhymes and is written in iambic pentameter

metaphor
a comparison of two dissimilar items through direct comparision

jargon
specialized language of a group or profession

quatrain
a verse stanza of four lines

ode
a long lyrical poem on a serious subject

narrative
a poem or other work of literature that tells a story

onomatopoeia
words that sound like they are spelled and create aural imagery like fizz and whirr

pun
a clever play on words, usually involves double entendres

tragedy
a work of literature that raises emotions of pity and fear and shows the fall of a noble person

verbal irony
saying one thing but really meaning another

vernacular
common every day language

point of view
the vantage from which a story is told: first or third person, omniscient, limited, or not at all

narrative pace
speed at which a story and its plot move along; should reflect the content

meter
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables

metonymy
a word related to the topic is substituted for it

protagonist
the main character in a story

parallel events
events that are similar in scope

end rhyme
words that rhyme at the ends of lines of poetry

epic
a long narrative poem that spans a long time period, uses grand language, involves the fate of an entire people, and has a hero of super human characteristics, among other things

euphemism
using a less offensive word for one that could be offensive

climax
the point of highest tension in a plot

ballad
a poem with an abcb rhyme scheme, characters that pop in and out, and have repetition

characterization
how a character acts and talks, what other characters say about him, and how others react to him

masculine rhyme
words with one syllable word that rhymes such as man and can

feminine rhyme
words with two syllables that rhyme such as mister and blister

simile
an explicit comparison between two unlike things signaled by the use of like or as

personification
attributing human qualities to an inanimate object

anaphora
the regular repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases or causes

anastrophe
word order is reversed or rearranged

apposition
the placing next to a noun, another noun or phrase that explains it

asyndenton
conjunctions are omitted, producing a fast paced and rapid prose

epanalepsis
repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the beginning

epistrophe
repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses (opposite of anaphora)

polysyndenton
the use of many conjunctions to slow the pace

parenthesis
the insertion of words, phrases, or a sentence that is not syntactically related to the rest of the sentence, set off from the rest of the sentence by dashes or parentheses

oxymoron
contradiction; two contradictory terms or ideas used together

paradox
a statement that appears to be contradictory but, in fact, has some truth

parallelism
expresses similar or related ideas in similar grammatical structures

chiasmus
grammatical structure of the first clause or phrase is reversed in the second, sometimes repeating the same words

antithesis
the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas

zeugma
when two different words that sound exactly alike are yoked together. “He bolted the door and his dinner.”

irony
when the writer takes on another voice or role that states the opposite of what is expressed

hyperbole
exaggeration; deliberation exaggeration for emphasis

litotes
opposite of hyperbole; intensifies an idea by understatement

pathos
the emotional effect an author wishes to achieve on his audience

ethos
the persona or credibility of an author

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