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47 terms

AP literature Exam Study Guide

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Allegory
A story illustrating an idea or a moral principle in which objects take on symbolic meanings.
Anachronism
A word derived from the Greek that literally means 'misplaced in time.'
Anaphora
The repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences
Ex: In the poem of Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou, the phrase "Phenomenal Woman" is a repetition.
Antecedent
The word or phrase to which a pronoun refers. It often precedes a pronoun in prose or in poetry.
EX: Tom wants to study Political Science; he finds it interesting
Anthropomorphism
In literature, when inanimate objects, animals or natural phenomena are given human characteristics, behavior or motivation. Often used with animal to give them human characteristics.
EX: The chronicle of Narnia is a great example of a movie that has Anthropomorphism of animals talking.
Anticlimax
An often disappointing, sudden end to an intense situation.
Aphorism
A brief statement which expresses an observation on life, usually intended as a wise observation.
Apostrophe
Figure of speech in which one directly addresses an imaginary person or some abstraction.
Archaism
The use of deliberately old-fashioned language.
Archetype
A character, situation or symbol that is familiar to people from all cultures because it occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion or folklore.
Ballad
A story in poetic form, often about tragic love and usually sung. Ballads were passed down from generation to generation by singers.
Black Humor
The use of disturbing themes in comedy.
Blank Verse
A poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter.
Cacophony/ Euphony
Cacophony is an unpleasant combination of sounds. Euphony, the opposite, is a pleasant combination of sounds. These sound effects can be used intentionally to create an effect, or they may appear unintentionally.
Canto
A subdivision of an epic poem.
Chiasmus
A statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed.
Colloquialism
A word or phrase used in everyday conversational English that isn't a part of the accepted 'formal' English.
EX: Soft Drink is referred to as Soda or Pop
Conceit
An unusual metaphor or metaphor that is developed in detail in a paragraph (for a novel) or over several lines (for poetry).
Connotation
The associations a word calls to mind.
The more connotative a literary work is, the less objective its interpretation becomes.
Denotation
The dictionary or literal meaning of a word or phrase.
Denouement
The outcome or clarification at the end of a story that follows the climax and leads to the resolution.
Didactic
A didactic story, speech, essay or play is one in which the author's primary purpose is to instruct, teach or moralize.
Enjambment
The continuation of a syntactic unit from one line or couplet of a poem to the next with no pause.
Epigram
A short, clever poem or statement with a witty turn of thought.
Epigraph
A brief quotation found at the beginning of a literary work, reflective of the work's theme.
Epistolary novel
A novel in letter form written by one or more of the characters. The novelist can use this technique to present varying first person viewpoints and does not need a narrator.
Exposition
The presentation of essential information regarding what has occurred prior to the beginning of the work.
Euphemism
A mild word of phrase which substitutes for another word or phrase which would be undesirable because it is too direct, unpleasant, harsh, or offensive.
Farce
A kind of comedy that depends on exaggerated or improbable situations, physical disasters, and sexual innuendo to amuse the audience.
Hubris
Insolence, arrogance or pride
Hyperbole
A wild exaggeration or an overstatement for literary effect that is not meant to be interpreted literally.
Inference
A judgment based on reasoning rather than on direct or explicit statement.
Inversion
A reversal of normal word order
Irony
Situational: situation that is the opposite of what you'd expext
Verbal: when a writer or speaker says one thing, but really means something completely different.
Dramatic: when the reader or audience knows something that the character does not. There is a contrast between what the character says, thinks or does and the true situation.
Tragic: dramatic irony that occurs in a tragedy
Litotes
A type of understatement in which the speaker or writer uses a negative of a word ironically, to mean the opposite
Metonym
Substituting the name of one object for another closely associated with it
Parable
A short story illustrating a moral or religious lesson.
Paradox
A statement or situation that at first seems impossible, but on closer inspection solves itself and reveals meaning.
Parody
A literary work that imitates the style of another literary work. A parody can be simply amusing or it can be meant to ridicule the author or his work.
Pastoral
A poem, play or story that celebrates and idealizes the simple life of shepherds and shepherdesses. The form was popular until the late 18th century.
Pathos
The quality of a literary work or passage which appeals to the reader's or viewer's emotions—especially pity, compassion and sympathy.
Pun
Humorous play on words that have several meanings or words that sound the same but have different meanings.
Saga
A story of the exploits of a hero, or the story of a family told through several generations.
Structure
Refers to how the parts of a work are organized and arranged
Syllepsis
• A construction in which one word is used in two different senses.
• The meaning of a verb cleverly changes halfway through a sentence but remains grammatically correct.
Synecdoche
A figure of speech where one part of something represents the whole thing.
Syntax
The way in which words, phrases and sentences are ordered and connected. Syntax results in various sentence types used for a variety of rhetorical effects.