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78 terms

AP English Literature Vocabulary

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foreshadowing
to hint at or to present an indication of the future beforehand
enjambment
the continuation of a sentence from one line of a poem to the next
pastoral
a work that describes the simple life of country folk who live in a timeless, painless life in a world full of beauty, music and love; bucolic, idyll
ode
a lyric poem that is somewhat serious in subject and treatment, elevated in style and sometimes uses elaborate stanza structure, which is often patterned in sets of three
antithesis
the juxtaposition of sharply contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words, phrases, grammatical structure, or ideas
apostrophe
an address or invocation to something that is inanimate
denotation
a direct and specific meaning, often reffered to as the dictionary definition of a word
blank verse
the verse form consisting of unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter
caesura
pause in a line of verse, indicated by natural speech patterns rather than due to specific metrical patterns
antagonist
any force that is in opposition to the main character
colloquial
ordinary language, the vernacular
theme
a generalized, abstract paraphrase of the dominant idea or concern of a work
couplet
two rhyming lines of iambic pentameter that together present a single idea or connection
dialect
the language and speech idiosyncrasies of a specific area, region, or group of people
synechdoche
when a part is used to signify a whole, as in "All hands on deck!"-hands= sailors
diction
the specific word choice an author uses to persuade or convey tone, purpose, or effect
syntax
the way words are put together to form phrases, clauses, and sentences
flashback
retrospection, where an earlier event is inserted into the normal chronology of the narrative
elegy
a poetic lament upon the death of a particular person, usually ending in consolation
epic
a poem that celebrates, in a continuou narrative, the achievements of mighty heroes and heroines, often concerned with the founding of a nation or developing of a culture
allusion
a reference to a literary or historical event, person, or place
extended metaphor
a detailed and complex metaphor that extends over a long section of a work; also called a conceit
farce
a play or scene in a play or book that is characterized by broad humor, wild antics, and often slapstick and physical humor
in-medis-res
refers to opening a story in the middle of the action, necessitating filing in past details by exposition or flashback; literally, "in the midst of things"
formal diction
language that is lofty, dignified, and impersonal
exposition
that part of the structure of a plot that sets the scene, introduces and identifies characters, and establishes the situation at the beginning of a story or play
satire
a literary work that holds up human failing to ridicule
alliteration
the sequential repetition of similar initial sound, usually applied to consonants, usually heard in closely proximate stressed syllables
style
a distinctive manner of expression expressed through an author's diction, rhythm, imagery, and more
free verse
poetry that is characterized by varying line lengths, lack of traditional meter, and non-rhyming lines
genre
a type or class of literature such as epic or narrative or poetry
hyperbole
overstatement characterized by exaggerated language
iambic
a metrical foot in poetry that consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable
conceit
a comparison of two unlikely things that is drawn out within a piece of literature; in particular, an extended metaphor within a poem
motif
a recurrent device, formula, or situation that often serves as a signal for the appearance of a character or event
dramatic monologue
also, a soliloquy; a monologue set in a specific situation and spoken to an imaginary audience
imagery
broadly defined, any sensory detail or evocation in a work; more narrowly, the use of figurative language to evoke a feeling, to call to mind an idea, or to describe an object
informal diction
language that is not as lofty or impersonal as formal diction; similar to everyday speech
irony
a situation or statement characterized by a significant difference between what is expected or understood and what actually happens or is meant
lyric
any short poem in which the speaker expresses intense personal emotion rather than desciribing a narrative or dramatic situation; a sonnet and ode are two examples
consonance
the repetition of a sequence of two or more consonants, but with a change in the intervening vowels
mood
a feeling or ambiance resulting from the tone of a piece as well as the writer/narrator's attitude and point of view
metaphor
one thing pictured as if it were something else, suggesting a likeness or analogy between them; an implicit comparison of two unlike things
villanelle
a verse form consisting of nineteen lines divided into six stanzas- five tercets and one quatrain; the first and third line of the first tercet rhyme, and this rhyme is repeated through each of the next four tercets and in the last two lines of the concluding quatrain
allegory
a prose or poetic narrative in which the characters, behavior, and even the setting demonstrates multiple levels of meaning and significance; often is a universal symbol or personified abstraction
tone
the attitude a literary work takes toward its subject and theme
narrative structure
a textual organization based on sequences of connected events, usually presented in a straightforward, chronological framework
narrator
the character who tells the story
connotation
what is suggested by a word, apart from what it explictly describes
omniscient
also called unlimited focus; a perspective that can be seen from multiple characters
oxymoron
a figure of speech that combines two apparently contradictory elements, sometimes resulting in a humorous image or statement
parable
a short fiction that illustrates an explicit moral lesson through the use of analogy
realism
the practice in literature of attempting to describe nature and life without idealization and with attention to detail
juxtaposition
the location of one thing as being adjacent with another; this placement of two items side by side creates a certain effect, reveals an attitude, or accomplishes some purpose of the writer
ancedote
a brief story or tale told by a character in a piece of literature
structure
the organization or arrangement of the various elements in a work
parallel structure
the use of similar forms in writing for nouns, verbs, phrases, or thoughts; maintains balance and symmetry
persona
the voice or figure of the author who tells and structures the story and who may or may not share the values of the actual author
archetype
recurrent designs, patterns of action, character types, themes, or images which are identifiable in a wide range of literature
refrain
a repeated stanza or line(s) in a poem or song
quatrain
a poetic stanza of four lines
rhyme
the repetition of the same or similar sounds, most often at the ends of lines
simile
a direct, explicit comparison of two things, usually using like or as to draw the connection
solioquy
a monologue in which the character in a play is alone and speaking only to himself or herself
protagonist
the main character in a work who may or may not be heroic
assonance
repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds, usually those found in stressed syllables of close proximity
personification
treating an abstraction or nonhuman object as if it were a person by endowing it with human qualitites
Shakespearean sonnet
a sonnet form divided into three quatrains and one couplet; also called an English sonnet
onomatopoeia
a work capturing or approximating the sound of what it describes
speaker
the person, not necessarily the author, who is the voice of the poem
symbolism
a person, place, thing, event, or pattern in a literary work that designates itself and at the same time figuratively represents something else
Petrachan sonnet
a sonnet form divided into an octave and a sestet; also called an Italian sonnet
setting
the time and place of the action in a story, poem, or play
tragedy
a drama in which a character, usually of noble or high rank, is brought to a disastrous end in confrontation with a superior force
sestina
a highly structured poem consisting of six six-line stanzas followed by a tercet; the same set of six words ends the lines of each of the six-line stanzas, but in a different order each time
paradox
a statement that seems contradictory but may actually be true
rhythm
the modulation of weak and strong (stressed and unstressed) elements in the flow of speech
terza rima
a verse form consisting of three-line stanzas in which the second line of each rhymes with the first and third of the next