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112 terms

Rhetorical Strategies & Literary Devices

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition
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Allegory
a story in which the narrative or characters carry an underlying symbolic, metaphorical, or ethical meaning
Alliteration
the repetition or one or more initial consonants in a group of words or lines of poetry or prose
Allusion
a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize; creates and effect or enhances the meaning
Ambiguity
a vagueness of meaning; a conscious lack of clarity meant to evoke multiple meanings of an idea
Anachronism
a person, scene, event, or other element in literature that fails to correspond with the time or era in which the work is set
Analogy
a comparison that points out similarities between two dissimilar things
Antagonist
a character or force in a work of literature that, but opposing the protagonist produces tension or conflict
Antithesis
a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced
Aphorism
a concise, statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea
Apostrophe
a rhetorical device in which a speaker addresses a person or personified thing not present
Archetype
an original model or form
Assonance
repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words
Ballad
a simple narrative verse that tells a story that is sung or recited
Bathos
the use of insincere or overdone sentimentality
Bildungsroman
a German word referring to a novel structured as a series of events that take place as the hero travels in quest of a goal
Blank verse
poetry written in iambic pentameter, the primary meter used in English poetry; it is "blank" because the lines generally do not rhyme
Bombast
inflated, pretentious language used for trivial subjects
Cacophony
grating, inharmonious sounds
Caesura
a pause somewhere in the middle of a verse, often (but not always) marked by punctuation
Canon
the works considered most important in a national literature or period; works widely read and studied
Catharsis
a cleansing of the spirit brought about by the pity and terror of a dramatic tragedy
Climax
the high point, or turning point, of a story or play
Conceit
a fanciful, particularly clever thought often stated in figurative language
Connotation
the implied or associative meaning of a word
Consonance
the repetition of two or more consonant sounds in a group of words or a line of poetry
Couplet
a pair of rhyming lines in a poem; two rhyming lines in iambic pentameter is called heroic couplet
Denotation
the literal meaning of a word
Denouement
the resolution that occurs at the end of a play or work of fiction
Diction
the word choices made by a writer
Dramatic irony
a circumstance in which the audience or reader knows more about a situation than a character
Elegy
a poem or prose selection that laments or meditates on the passing or death of something or someone of value
End stopped
describes a line of poetry that ends with a natural pause often indicated by a mark of punctuation
Enjambment
in poetry, the use of successive lines with no punctuation or pause between them
Euphony
pleasing, harmonious sounds
Euphemism
a mile or less negative usage for a harsh or blunt term
Extended metaphor
a series of comparisons between tow unlike objects
Falling action
the action in a play or story that occurs after the climax and that leads to the conclusion and often to the resolution of the conflict
Farce
a comedy that contains an extravagant and nonsensical disregard of seriousness, although it may have a serious, scornful purpose
Figurative language
language employing one or more figures of speech to imply meaning (simile, metaphor, personification,etc.)
First person narrative
a narrative told by a character involved in the story
Foil
a minor character whose personality or attitude contrasts with that of the main character; juxtaposing one character against another intensifies the qualities of both
Foot
a unit of stressed and unstressed syllables used to determine the meter of a poetic line
Foreshadowing
providing hints of things to come in a story or play
Frame
a structure that provides premise or setting for a narrative
Hubris
excessive pride that often leads tragic heroes to their death
Hyperbole
intentional exaggeration to create an effect
Imagery
the use of language to create vivid images that appeal to the five senses (taste, touch, sound, smell, sight)
Irony
the use of words in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is stated; incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs (situational, verbal, dramatic)
Jargon
the specialized language or vocabulary of a particular group or profession
Juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
Litotes
a form of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to achieve emphasis or intensity. (Ex. He is not a bad dancer.)
Lyric poetry
personal, reflective poetry that reveals the speaker's thoughts and feelings about the subject
Melodrama
a literary form in which events are exaggerated in order to create an extreme emotional response
Metaphor
a direct comparison of two unlike things
Meter
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables found in poetry
Metonymy
a figure of speech that uses the name of one thing to represent something else with which it is associated
Mood
the emotional atmosphere of a work of literature
Motif
a phrase, idea, or event that through repetition serves to unify or convey a theme in a work of literature
Narrative
a form of verse or prose that tells a story
Ode
a lyric poem usually marked by serious, respectful, and exalted feelings toward the subject
Omniscient narrator
a narrator with unlimited awareness, understanding, and insight of characters,setting, background, and all other elements of the story
Onomatopoeia
the use of words whose sounds suggest their meaning (Ex. bubbling, murmuring brooks)
Oxymoron
a term consisting of contradictory element juxtaposed to create a paradoxical effect (Ex. loud silence, jumbo shrimp)
Paradox
an apparently contradictory statement that actually contains some truth
Parody
an imitation of a work meant to ridicule its style and subject
Pathos
the quality in a work that prompts the reader to experience emotions such as pity or sorry
Pentameter
a verse with five poetic feet per line
Personification
endowing non-human objects or creatures with human qualities or characteristics
Plot
the interrelationship among the events in a story; the plot line is the pattern of events
Point of view
the relation in which a narrator or speaker stands to the story or subject matter of a poem; a story told in the first person has an internal point of view; an observer uses an external point of view
Prosody
the grammar of meter and rhythm in poetry
Protagonist
the main character in a work of literature
Pun
a humorous play on words, using similar- sounding or identical words to suggest different meanings
Quatrain
a four-line poem or a four-line unit of a longer poem
Rhetoric
the language of a work and its style; words, often highly emotional, used to convince or sway an audience
Rhyme
the repetition of similar sounds at regular intervals, used mostly in poetry
Rhyme scheme
the pattern of rhymes within a given poem
Rhythm
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make up a line of poetry
Satire
a literary style used to poke fun at, attack or ridicule and idea, vice, or foible, often for the purpose of inducing change
Setting
the total environment for the action in a novel or play; includes time, place, historical milieu, and social, political, and even spiritual circumstances
Simile
a comparison of two things using "like," "as," or other specifically comparative words
Sonnet
a form of verse consisting of fourteen lines and a prescribed rhyme scheme
Stanza
a group of two or more lines in poetry combined according to subject matter, rhyme, or some other plan
Stream of Consciousness
a style of writing in which the author tries to reproduce the random flow of thoughts in the human mind
Structure
the arrangement or framework of a sentence, paragraph, essay, or entire work
Style
the manner in which an author uses and arranges words, shapes, ideas, forms sentences, and creates a structure to convey ideas
Subplot
a subordinate or minor collection of events in a novel or play, usually connected to the main plot
Symbolism
the use of one object to evoke ideas and associations not literally part of the original object
Synecdoche
a figure of speech in which a part signifies the whole or the whole signifies the part
Syntax
the manner in which words are arranged in sentences
Theme
a central idea of a work; the writer's perspective/view about the topic; often an abstract idea upon which a work of literature is built
Tone
the attitude of a writer, usually implied, toward the subject or audience; emotion that pervades a work of a part of a work
Tragedy
a form of literature in which the hero is destroyed by some character flaw and a set of forces that cause the hero considerable anguish
Verbal irony
a discrepancy between the true meaning of a situation and the literal meaning of the written or spoken words
Verse
a synonym for poetry; also a group of lines in a song or poem; also a line of poetry
Voice
the real or assumed personality used by a writer
Anecdote
A brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event
Declarative Sentence
A sentence that makes a statement
Ellipsis
The deliberate omission of a word or phrase that is readily implied by the context and must be supplied by the reader or listener
Ethos
The persuasive appeal of ones character or credibility
Exclamatory Sentence
A sentence that expresses strong feeling by making an exclamation
Idiom
An expression in a given language that cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the words in the expression; or, a regional speech or dialect
Imperative Sentence
A sentence that commands
Implication
A suggestion an author or speaker makes without stating it directly
Inference
A conclusion one draws based on premises or evidence
Interrogative Sentence
A sentence that asks a question
Imperative sentence
A sentence that gives advice or instructions or that expresses a request or command
Logos
Appeal to reason or logic
Parallelism
The use of corresponding grammatical or syntactical forms
Rhetorical Devices
Literary techniques used to heighten the effectiveness of expression, meaning, purpose
Schemes
Syntactical constructions (anaphoric, epitope, antimetabole, chiasmus, epanalepsis, and anadiplosis)
Thesis
The primary position taken by a writer or speaker