AP English Literature Terms

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Terms in this set (235)
antithesisa rhetorical opposition or contrast of ideas by means of a grammatical arrangement of words, clauses, or sentencesaphorisma short, pithy statement of a generally accepted truth or sentimentApollonianin contrast to Dionysian, it refers to the most noble, godlike qualities of human nature and behaviorapostrophea locution that addresses a person/personified thing not presentarchetypean abstract or ideal conception of a type; a perfectly typical example; an original model/formassonancethe repetition of two or more vowel sounds in a group of words or lines in poetry and proseballada simple narrative verse that tells a story that is sung or recited; a long narrative poem, usually in very regular meter and rhyme, typically has a naive folksy qualitybarda poet, in olden times, a performer who told heroic stories to musical accompanimentbathosthe use of insincere or overdone sentimentalitybelle-lettresthe French term for the world of books, criticism, and literature in generalbibliographya list of works cited or otherwise relevant to a subject or other workBildungsromana German word referring to a novel structured as a series of events that take place as the hero travels in quest of a goalblank versepoetry written in iambic pentameter, the primary meter used in English poetry and the works of Shakespeare and Milton. its lines generally do not rhymebombastinflated, pretentious language used for trivial subjectsburlesquea work of literature meant to ridicule a subject; a grotesque imitation; a broad parody and exaggerates it into ridiculousnesscacophonygrating, inharmonious soundscaesuraa pause somewhere in the middle of a verse, often (but not always marked by punctuation)canonthe works considered most important in national literature or period; works widely read and studiedcaricaturea grotesque likeness of striking qualities in persons and things; a portrait that exaggerates a facet of personalitycarpe diem"seize the day"catharsisa cleansing of the spirit brought about by the pity and terror of a dramatic tragedyclassica highly regarded work of literature or other art form that has withstood the test of time, similar to canonclassicismderiving from the orderly qualities of ancient Greek and Roman culture; implies formality, objectivity, simplicity and restraintclimaxthe high point, or turning point, of a story/playnovela tale in which a young protagonist experiences an introduction to adulthood. the character may develop understanding via disillusionment, education, doses of reality, or any other experiences that alter his/her emotional/intellectual maturity. e.g. Invisible Manconceita witty or ingenious thought; a diverting or highly fanciful idea, often stated in figurative language; a startling or unusual metaphor, or a metaphor developed and expanded upon several linesanticlimaxthis occurs when an action produces far smaller results than one had been led to expect, it is frequently comic in effectantiheroa protagonist who is markedly unheroic: morally weak, cowardly, dishonest, or any number of other unsavory qualitiesasidea speech (usually just a short comment) made by an actor to the audience, as though momentarily stepping outside of the action on stageaspecta trait of characteristic, as in "an aspect of the dew drop"atmospherethe emotional tone or background that surrounds a sceneblack humorthis is the use of disturbing themes in comedy. e.g. two tramps comically debating over which should commit suicide first, and whether the branches of a tree will support their weightcadencethe beat or rhythm of poetry in a general sensecantois a divider in long poems, much like chapters in a novelcoinagea.k.a. neologism, inventing a wordcolloquialismthis is a word or phrase used in everyday conversational English that isn't a part of accepted "schoolbook" Englishcontrolling imagewhen an image dominates and shapes the entire workmetaphysical conceita type of conceit that occurs only in metaphysical poetryconnotationthe suggest or implied meaning of a word/phraseconsonancethe repetition of two or more consonant sounds within a group of words or a line of poetrycoupleta pair of lines that end in rhymeheroic couplettwo rhyming lines in iambic pentameter are called thisdenotationthe literal, dictionary definition of a worddenouementthe resolution that occurs at the end of a play or work or fictiondeus ex machinain literature, the use of an artificial device or gimmick to solve a problemDionysianas distinguished from Apollonian, the word refers to sensual, pleasure seeking impulsesdictionthe choice of words in oral and written discoursesyntaxthe ordering and structuring of the words in a sentencedirgea song for the dead, its tone is typically slow, heavy, and melancholydissonancethe grating of incompatible soundsdoggerelcrude, simplistic verse, often in sing-song rhymedramatic ironywhen the audience knows something that the characters in the drama do notdramatic monologuewhen a single speaker in literature says something to a silent audienceelegya poem or prose selection that laments or meditates on the passing/death of something/someone of valueelementsthe basic techniques of each genre of literature. IN SHORT STORY: characters, irony, theme, symbol, plot, setting. IN POETRY: figurative language, symbol, imagery, rhythm, rhyme. IN DRAMA: conflict, characters, climax, conclusion, exposition, rising action, falling action, props. IN NONFICTION: argument, evidence, reason, appeals, fallacies, thesis.ellipsisthree periods (...) indicating the omission of words in a thought or quotationempathya feeling of association or identification with an object/personend stoppeda term that describes a line of poetry that ends with a natural pause often indicated by a mark of punctuationenjambmentthe continuation of a syntactic unit from one line or couplet of a poem to the next with no pauseepican extended narrative poem that tells of the adventures and exploits of a hero that is generally larger than life and is often considered a legendary figuremock epica parody form that deals with mundane events and ironically treats them as worthy of epic poetryepitaphlines that commemorate the dead at their burial place. usually a line or handful of lines, often serious or religious, but sometimes witty and even irreverentepigrama concise but ingenious, witty and thoughtful statementeuphonywhen sounds blend harmoniously; pleasing, harmonious soundsepithetan adjective or phrase that expresses a striking quality of a person or thingeponymousa term for the title character of a work of literatureeuphemisma mild or less negative usage for a harsh or blunt termexegesisa detailed analysis or interpretation of a work of literatureexposea piece of writing that reveals weaknesses, faults, frailties, or other short comingsexplicitto say or write something directly and clearlyexplicationthe interpretation/analysis of a textextended metaphora series of comparisons between two unlike objects that occur over a number of linesfablea short tale often featuring nonhuman character that act as people whose actions enable the author to make observations or draw useful lessons about human behavior. i.e Orwell's "Animal Farm"falling actionthe action in a play or story that occurs after the climax and that leads to the conclusion and often to the resolution of the conflictfantasya story containing unreal, imaginary featuresfarcea comedy that contains an extravagant and nonsensical disregard of seriousness, although it may have a serious, scornful purposefigurative languagein contrast to literal language, this implies meanings. It includes devices such as metaphors, similes, and personification, etc.foila secondary character whose purpose is to highlight the characteristics of a main character, usually by contrastfirst person narrativea narrative told by a character involved in the story, using first-person pronouns such as "I" and "we"flashbacka return to an earlier time in a story or play in order to clarify present actions or circumstances i.e. Invisible Manforeshadowingan event or statement in a narrative that suggests, in miniature, a larger event that comes laterfootthe basic rhythmic unit of a line in poetry. it is formed by a combination of two or three syllables, either stressed or unstressedframea structure that provides premise or setting for a narrativefree versea kind of poetry without rhymed lines, rhythm or fixed metrical feetgenrea term used to describe literary forms, such as novel, play, and essayGothic novela novel in which supernatural horrors and an atmosphere of unknown terror pervades the action. i.e. "Frankenstein"haranguea forceful sermon, lecture, or tiradehubristhe excessive pride/ambition that leads to the main character's downfallhyperboleexaggeration/deliberate overstatementhumanisma belief that emphasizes faith and optimism in human potential and creativityimplicitto say or write something that suggests and implies but never says it directly or clearlyin medias resLatin for "in the midst of things"; a narrative that starts not at the beginning of events but at some other critical pointidylla lyric poem or passage that describes a kind of ideal life or placeimagea word or phrase representing that which can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled or feltinversionswitching customary order of elements in a sentence or phrase. when done badly it can give a stilted, artificial look-at-me-I'm-poetry feel to the verse. type of syntaxironya mode of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is stated, often implying ridicule or light sarcasminvectivea direct verbal assault; a denunciation. i.e. Candidekenninga device employed in Anglo-Saxon poetry in which the name of a thing is replaced by one of its functions/qualities, as in "ring-giver" for king and "wale-road" for oceanlamenta poem of sadness or grief over the death of a loved one or over some other intense losslampoona satirelight versea variety of poetry meant to entertain or amuse, butt sometimes with a satirical thrustloose sentencea sentence that is complete before its end. follows customary word order of English sentences i.e. subject-verb-objectperiodic sentencea sentence not grammatically complete until it has reached its final phrase; sentence that departs from the usual word order of English sentences by expressing its main thought only at the endlyricpersonal, reflective poetry that reveals the speaker's thoughts and feelings about the subject; the word is used to describe tone, it refers to a sweet, emotional melodiousnessmelodramaa form of cheesy theater in which the hero is very, very good, the villain mean and rotten, and the heroine oh-so-pure.litotesa form of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to achieve emphasis or intensitymaxima saying or proverb expressing common wisdom or truthmetaphora figure of speech that compares unlike objectsmetaphysical poetrythe work of poets, particularly those of 17th c., that uses elaborate conceits, is highly intellectual, and expresses the complexities of love and lifemeterthe pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables found in poetrymetonymya figure of speech that uses the name of one thing to represent something else with which it is associated. e.g. "The White House says..."modethe general form, pattern, and manner of expression of a work of literaturemontagea quick succession of images/impressions used to express an ideamoodthe emotional tone in a work of literaturenemesisthe protagonist's archenemy or supreme and persistent difficultyobjectivitythis treatment of a subject matter is an impersonal/outside view of eventssubjectivitythis treatment of a subject matter uses the interior/personal view of a single observer and is typically colored with that observer's emotional responsesonomatopoeiawords that sound like what they meanmorala brief and often simplistic lesson that a reader may infer from a work of literaturemotifa phrase, idea, event that through repetition serves to unify or convey a theme in a work of literature.museone of the ancient Greek goddesses presiding over the arts. the imaginary source of inspiration for an artist or writermythan imaginary story that has become accepted part of the cultural or religious tradition of a group/society. often used to explain natural phenomena.narrativea form of verse or prose that tells a storynaturalisma term often used as a synonym for "realism"; also a view of experiences that is generally characterized as bleak and pessimisticnon sequitura statement or idea that fails to follow logically from the one beforenovel of mannersa novel focusing on and describing the social customs and habits of a particular social groupodea lyric poem usually marked by serious, respectful and exalted feelings toward the subject.omniscient narratora narrator with unlimited awareness, understanding, and insight of characters, setting, background, and all other elements of the storyoxymorona phrase composed of opposites; a contradiction. juxtaposition of contradictory element to create a paradoxical effectoppositionone of the most useful concepts in analyzing literature. it means that you have a pair of elements that contrast sharply.ottava rimaan eight-line rhyming stanza of a poemparablelike a fable or an allegory, it's a story that instructs; a story consisting of events from which a moral or spiritual truth may be derivedparadoxa statement that seems self-contradictory yet trueparallelismrepeated syntactical similarities used for effectparodyan imitation of a work meant to ridicule its style and subjectparaphrasea version of a text put into simpler, everyday, wordspastorala work of literature dealing with rural lifepathetic fallacyfaulty reasoning that inappropriately ascribes human feelings to nature or nonhuman objectspathosthat element in literature that stimulates pity or sorrowpentametera verse with five poetic feet per linepersonathe role/facade that a character assumes or depicts to a reader, viewer, or the world at large; the narrator in a non-first-person novelpersonificationgiving an inanimate object human like qualities or formplotthe interrelationship among the events in a story, including exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolutionpicaresque novelan episodic novel about a roguelike wanderer who lives off his wits. e.g. "Don Quixote", "Moll Flanders"plainta poem or speech expressing sorrowpoint of viewthe perspective from which the action of a novel in presented.omniscient narrator3rd person narrator who sees like God into each character's mind and understands all the action going on.limited omniscient narrator3rd person narrator who generally reports only what one character (usually the main) sees, and who only reports the thoughts of that one privileged character.objective narrator3rd person narr. who only reports on what would be visible to a camera, doesn't know what the character is thinking unless the character speaks of it.first person narratorthis is a narrator who is a character in the story and tells the tale from his/her POV. when the narrator is crazy, a liar, very young, or for some reason not entirely credible, the narrator is "unreliable"prosodythe grammar of meter and rhythm in poetryprotagonistthe main character in a work of literaturepreludean introductory poem to a longer work of versepunthe usually humorous use of a word in such a way to suggest two or more meaningspseudonymalso called "pen name", a false name or alias used by writers. i.e Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) George Orwell (Eric Blair)quatriana four-line poem or a four-line unit of a longer poemrefraina line or set of lines repeated several times over the course of a poemrequiema song of prayer for the deadrealismthe depiction of people, things, and events as they really are without idealization or exaggeration for effectrhetoricthe language of a work and its style; words, often highly emotional, used to convince or sway an audiencerhetorical questiona question that suggests an answer. in theory, the effect is that it causes the listener to feel they have come up with the answer themselvesrhapsodyan intensely passionate verse or section of verse, usually of love or praiserhymethe repetition of similar sounds at regular intervals, used mostly in poetryrhyme schemethe patterns of rhymes within a given poem i.e. abbarhythmthe pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make up a line of poetry. similar to meterromancean extended narrative about improbable events and extraordinary people in exotic placessarcasma sharp, caustic expression or remark; a bitter jibe or tauntsatirea literary style used to poke fun at, attack or ridicule an idea, vice, or foible, often for the purpose of inducing change. great subjects for this include hypocrisy, vanity and greed, especially if those characteristics have become institutionalized in societysimilefigurative comparison using the words "like" or "as"settingthe total environment for the action in a novel/play. it includes time, place, historical milieu, and social, political and even spiritual circumstancessentimentala term that describes characters' excessive emotional response to experience; also nauseatingly nostalgic and mawkishsentimenta synonym for "view" or "feeling"; also refined and tender emotion in literaturescansionthe act of determining the meter of a poetic line.sonneta popular form of verse consisting of fourteen lines and a prescribed rhyme scheme. two types: Shakespearean and Petrarchansoliloquya speech spoken by a character alone on stage. meant to convey the impression that the audience is listening to the character's THOUGHTS. unlike an aside, it is not meant to imply that the actor acknowledges the audience's presencestanzaa group of lines in verse, roughly analogous in function to the paragraph in prose; a group of two or more lines in poetry combined according to subject matter, rhyme, or some other planstream of consciousnessa style of writing in which the author tries to reproduce the random flow of thoughts in the human mind, e.g. Ernest Hemingwaystock charactersstandard or cliched character types: the drunk, the miser, the foolish girl, etc.suggestto imply, infer indicate. goes along with the concept of implicitstylethe manner in which an author uses and arranges words, shapes ideas, forms sentences and creates a structure to convey ideassubplota subordinate or minor collection of events in a novel or play, usually connected to the main plotsubtextthe implied meaning that underlies the main meaning of a work of literaturesummarya simple retelling of what you've just read. what you DON'T want to do in the Open Essay section :)symbolisma device in literature where an object represents an ideasynecdochea figure of speech in which a part signifies the whole or the whole signifies the partthemethe main idea or meaning, often an abstract idea upon which a work of literature is builtthesisthe main position of an argument. the central contention that will be supportedtonethe author's attitude toward the subject being written about. it's the characteristic emotion that pervades a work or part of a worktragic flawin a tragedy, this is the weakness of a character in an otherwise good individual that ultimately leads to his demisetragedya form of literature in which the hero is destroyed by some character flaw and a set of forces that cause the hero considerable anguish, or even deathtravestya grotesque parodytruisma way-too-obvious truthutopiaan idealized place. imaginary communities in which people are able to live in happiness, prosperity and peace. Sir Thomas More came up with this idea.verbal ironya discrepancy between the true meaning of a situation and the literal meaning of the written or spoken wordsversea synonym for poetry. also a group of lines in a song or poem; also a single line of poetryverisimilitudesimilar to the truth; the quality of realism in a work that persuades readers that they are getting a vision of life as it isversificationthe structural form of a line of verse as revealed by the number of feet it contains. i.e. monometer = 1 foot; tetrameter = 4 feet; pentameter = 5 feet, etc.villanellea French verse form calculated to appear simple and spontaneous but consisting of 19 lines and a prescribed pattern of rhymesvoicethe real or assumed personality used by a writer or speaker. a verb is in the active voice when it expresses an action performed by its subject. a verb is in the passive voice when it expresses an action performed upon its subject or when the subject is the result of the action. Active: The crew raked the leaves. Passive: The leaves were raked by the crew.witthe quickness of intellect and the power and talent for saying brilliant things that surprise and delight by their unexpectedness; the power to comment subtly and pointedly on the foibles of the passing scenezeugmathe use of a word to modify two or more words, but used for different meanings. "He close the door and his heart on his lost love."anastropheinversion of the natural or usual word orderparenthesisinsertion of some verbal unit in a position that interrupts the normal syntactical flow of the sentenceappositionplacing side by side two coordinate elements, the second of which serves as an explanation or modification of the first. "The mountain was the earth, her home."ellipsisdeliberate omission of a word or words which are readily implied by contextasyndetondeliberate omission of conjunctions between a series of related clauses. used to produce a hurried rhythm in the sentence.polysyndetonthe deliberate use of many conjunctions. its effect is to slow down the rhythm of the sentenceanaphorarepetition of the same words or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses. e.g. "I have a dream..."epistropherepetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses "When we first came we were very many and you were very few. Now you are many and we are getting very few."epanalepsisrepetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the beginning of the clause. "Blood hat bought blood, and blows have answer'd blows"anadiplosisrepetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause. "The crime was common, common be the pain."climaxthe arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of importanceantimetabolerepetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order. "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."chiasmusreversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses. "Exalts his enemies, his friends destroys."polyptotonrepetition of words derived from the same root. "But in this desert country they may see the land being rendered USELESS by OVERUSE."antanaclasisrepetition of a word in two different senses. "Your argument is sound, nothing but sound."paronomasiause of words alike in sound but different in meaning. "ask for me tomorrow and you will find me a GRAVE man."syllepsisthe use of a word understood differently in relation to two or more other words, which it modifies/governs. "The ink, like our pig, keeps running out of the pen."anthimeriathe substitution of one part of speech for another "I'll UNHAIR they head."periphrasissubstitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name or of a proper name for a quality associated with the name. "They do not escape JIM CROW; they merely encounter another, not less deadly variety."autobiographyan account of a person's own lifedialecta way of speaking that is characteristic of a particular region/group of peopleepiphanyin a literary work, a moment of sudden insight/revelation that a character experiencesessaya short piece of non-fiction prose that examines a single subject from a limited POVsuspensethe uncertainty/anxiety we feel about what is going to happen next in a story