42 terms

AP Lit Terms (46-87)

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in medias res
Latin for work that starts in middle of action; "into the middle of things." In The Odyssey, we begin after Odysseus has been trapped on an island for seven years. (like how many college essays start)
invective
an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using abusive language
inverted sentence
reversing the normal subject-verb-complement order.

"Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door ... and sill are gone." Henry David Thoreau
juxtaposition
placing two items side by side to create a certain effect or reveal an attitude. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..." Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, in order to contrast the very poor and very rich prior to the French Revolution; no middle class
leit-motif
an object, animal, phrase, or other thing loosely associated with a character, setting, or event. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, the moon is a leit-motif associated with the fairy court and occurs in the scenery and discussion. Blood in Macbeth
literal language
adhering to fact without exaggeration or embellishment
litotes
form of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to affirm a positive statement. "I lived at West Egg - the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them." The Great Gatsby
loose sentence
normal; follows customary word order of subject-verb-object (opposite is the periodic sentence with the main thought at the end)
magical realism
a genre of fiction that originated in Latin America and incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction. authors Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Shadow of the Wind. 100 years of Solitude.
metaphor
a direct comparison in which an unknown item is understood by directly comparing it to a known item. "Time is but a stream that I go a'fishing in." Henry David Thoreau. An extended metaphor explores the comparison at length: Emily Dickinson's entire poem "Hope is a thing with feathers..."
metonymy
figure of speech that uses the name of one thing to represent something else with which it is associated. The College Board no longer distinguishes this with synecdoche on the test. The White House says...
mock epic
a parody of traditional epic form. The movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a parody of The Odyssey.
mood
atmosphere created by a writer's diction and the details presented
motif
phrase, idea, event, or image that through repetition serves to unify the work or convey theme. One popular motif in modern literature and movies is food.
non sequitur
statement or idea that fails to follow logically from the one before. We are better because we are Americans.
paradox
a statement that seems self-contradictory but is actually true. "I like large parties; they're so intimate." The Great Gatsby
parenthesis
used by a writer to add a witty aside to the reader. "Twice has she condescended to give me her opinion (unasked too) on the subject!" Pride and Prejudice
parody
an imitation of a work meant to ridicule its style and subject. The Daily Show parodies all news programs.
pastoral
a work dealing with a simple, rural life, usually from an idealistic view
periodic sentence
puts descriptive phrases and clauses before the subject and verb. "Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration." Ralph Waldo Emerson
personification
metaphorically represents an animal or inanimate object as having human attributes. Ideas and abstractions can also be personified. "My first and greatest love affair was with this thing they call freedom." E.B. White
pulp fiction
novels written for mass consumption with often exciting plots. James Bond novels (pulp= cheap paper, bad quality. Cowboy stories, old detective novels)
pun
a play on words based upon the multiple meanings of words. "Men have become the tools of their tools." Henry David Thoreau
rhetorical question
a literary device in which a question is asked that actually requires no answer. Answer is assumed "O Wind/If Winter comes/Can Spring be far behind?" Percy Bysshe Shelley
roman a clef
French for a novel in which historical events and actual people appear under the guise of fiction. Lords of Discipline is a novel about the Citadel, a military school, that the author attended. Pat Conroy (recommended by Ms. Wright, Prince of Tides)
royal rhyme
a form of verse in which seven-line stanzas of iambic pentameter have three rhymes in the pattern ababbcc. Chaucer used this in The Canterbury Tales.
satire
literary style used to ridicule an idea or vice, often to induce change
simile
an indirect comparison using like, as, or than. He was happier than a fox in a henhouse.
stereotype
anything that represents something in a typical way. In The Big Bang Theory, characters are stereotypical nerdy scientists.
stream of consciousness
writing style in which the author tries to reproduce the random flow of thoughts in the human mind. "I grow old, I grow old/ I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled/ Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?" "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot
subtext
the implied meaning that underlies the main meaning of a work or the words of a character, not necessarily theme. "They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed...."It makes me sad because I've never seen such beautiful shirts." Daisy Buchanan. She's not sad about shirts but because she didn't know Gatsby when he had such wealth, and now it's too late.
synesthesia
imagery that appeals to more than one sense. Blue cold air, the song "Taste the Pain" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
style
the distinctive way in which a writer uses language - the use of diction, tone, and syntax together
synecdoche
a figure of speech in which a part represents the whole; like metonymy. I got a new set of wheels.
syntax
the organization of language into meaningful structure; the pattern of words. Dickens' long complex sentences vs. Hemingway's short ones with few modifiers (Hemingway hates subordinate clauses)
theme
the insight about human life that is revealed in a work
tone
the author's attitude toward the subject of a work or the characters, revealed through diction, figurative language, etc.
tragedy
a story in which a heroic character meets an unhappy end usually because of some character flaw.
Understatement
a statement that says less than what it means. "We know that poverty is unpleasant." George Orwell
verse
poetry
vernacular
the language spoken by the common people who live in a particular locality, rather than a literary or cultured language; may be used more broadly than a dialect (dialect = nonstandard type of speech, vernacular = standard, how common ppl talk, colloquialism = small figure of speech)
Voice
the real or assumed personality used by a writer. In Huckleberry Finn, Twain uses the voice of a young boy to tell the story.