AP Literary Terms

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terms used to describe literary writing.

Allegory

story or poem in which characters, setting, and events stand for other people or events or for abstract ideas or qualities.

Alliteration

repetition of the same or similar consonant sounds in words that are close together.

Allusion

reference to someone or something that is known from history, literature, religion, politics, sports, science or another branch of culture. An indirect reference to something (usually from literature, etc).

Analogy

Comparison made between two things to show how they are alike.

Anecdote

Brief story, told to illustrate a point or serve as an example of something, often shows character of an individual.

Antagonist

Opponent who struggles against or blocks the hero, or protagonist, in a story.

Antithesis

Balancing words, phrases, or ideas that are strongly contrasted, often by means of grammatical structure.

Antihero

Central character who lacks all traditional qualities traditionally associated with heroes. May lack courage, grace, intelligence, or moral scruples.

Aphorism

brief, cleverly worded statement that makes a wise observation about life, or of a principle or accepted general truth.

Apostrophe

calling out to an imaginary, dead,or absent person, or to a place or thing, or a personified abstract idea.

Assonance

the repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds especially in words that are together.

Characterization

the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character

Indirect Characterization

the author reveals to the reader what the character is like by describing what the charater does (what the character says, thinks, wears, feels), how people react to the character and byshowing the character in action.

Direct Characterizatoin

The author tells us directly what the character is like: sneaky, generous, mean to pets, and so on.

Static Character

one who does not change much in the course of a story.

Dynamic Character

one who changes in some important way as a result of the story's actions.

Flat Character

has only one or two personality traits. One dimensional. They can be summed up in one phrase.

Round Character

has more dimensions to their personalities. They are complex, just as real people are.

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