50 terms

AP English Literature Terms

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Allegory
A story or poem in which characters, settings, and events stand for something else
Ballad
A narrative poem written in four-line stanzas, characterized by swift action and narrated in a direct style.
Bildungsroman
A novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education
Elegy
A lyric poem that laments the dead
Lyric Poem
A poem of a single speaker who expresses his thoughts and feelings
Pastoral
Literature that describes country or rural life
Satire
A style of writing that ridicules human weaknesses, vice or folly in order to promote social reform
Sonnet
A lyric poem of 14 lines, usually in iambic pentameter
Tragedy
A type of drama in which the characters experience reversals of fortune, usually for the worse
Villanelle
A nineteen-line lyric poem that relies heavily on repetition
Couplet
A pair of rhymed lines that may or may not constitute a separate stanza in a poem
Caesura
A strong pause within a line of verse
End Rhyme
A rhyme that occurs at the end of lines
Enjambment
A run-on line of poetry in which logical and grammatical sense carries over from one line into the next
Speaker
The voice in a poem that talks to the reader (not to be confused with the poet)
Alliteration
A repetition of initial consonant sounds
Biblical Allusion
A reference to a statement, person, place or event that is known from the Bible
Assonance
A repetition of vowel sounds in non-rhyming words
Epiphany
A moment of sudden revelation or insight
Hyperbole
A gross exaggeration for effect; overstatement
Paradox
A statement that appears to contradict itself but contains a truth beneath the surface
Personification
The endowment of inanimate objects or abstract concepts with animate or living qualities
Simile
A comparison of two unlike things using like or as
Metaphor
A comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparative word such as like or as
Foil
Characters that contrast and emphasize the traits of the hero
Mood
The general emotional effect of a poem, story or scene from a story
Juxtaposition
Two contrasting elements placed side by side
Oxymoron
Contradictory terms brought together to express a paradox for strong effect
Repetition
Technique in which a sound, word, phrase or line is repeated for emphasis
Imagery
Descriptions that appeal to one of the 5 senses
Symbol
A concrete object that stands for itself and for something broader than itself as well
Soliloquy
A speech in a play that is meant to be heard by the audience but not by other characters on the stage
Slant Rhyme
A rhyming sound that is not exact
Overstatement
A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used in the service of truth
Euphemism
A more agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept
Archaism
The use of deliberately old-fashioned language, sometimes used to create a feeling of antiquity
Epithet
An adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned
Synecdoche
A figure of speech in which a part is substituted for the whole
Ode
A lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner
Anaphora
A rhetorical figure of repetition in which the same word or phrase is repeated in (and usually at the beginning of) successive lines, clauses, or sentences.
Octave
An eight-line stanza
Quatrain
A four-line stanza
Sestet
A six-line stanza
Cliche
A worn-out idea or overused expression
Classical Allusion
A reference to a statement, person, place or event that is known from Greek or Roman mythology
Parody
A work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule
Apostrophe
A figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction, such as liberty or love
Internal Rhyme
A rhyme created by two or more words in the same line of verse
Blank Verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter
Archetype
A recurring symbol, character, landscape, or event found in myth and literature across different cultures and eras
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