47 terms

AP Literature Terms FINAL

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Allegory
a story in which the narrative or characters carry an underlying symbolic, metaphorical, or possibly an ethical meaning. In works such as Spenser's The Fairie Queen and Bunyon's Pilgrims Progress, the story and characters represent values beyond themselves.
Alliteration
the repetition of one or more initial consonants in a group of words or lines of poetry or prose.

Writers use it for ornament or for emphasis, as in words such as film-flam and tittle-tattle. Also used in epithets (fickle fortune, sunless sea), phrases (bed and board), and slogans (look before you leap). It generally enhances the aesthetic quality of a prose passage or poem, as in these lines from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner": The white foam flew/The furrow follows free.
Allusion
A reference to a person, place, or event meant to create an effect or enhance the meaning of an idea.
Ambiguity
A vagueness of meaning; a conscious lack of clarity meant to evoke multiple meanings and interpretation.
Aphorism
A short, pithy, statement of a generally accepted truth or sentiment.
Assonance
the repetition of two or more vowel sounds in a group of words or lines in poetry or prose. "Meet Pete Green; he's as mad as a hatter."
Blank verse
poetry written in iambic pentameter, the primary meter used in English poetry and the words of Shakespeare and Milton. It is "blank" because the lines generally do not rhyme.
Caesura
a pause somewhere in the middle of a verse, often (but not always) marked by punctuation.
Example by William Butler Yeats (after "loosed"):
"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
Coming-of-age-story/Bildungsroman
a German word referring to a novel structured as a series of events that take place as the hero travels in quest of a goal.
Conceit
a witty or ingenious thought; a diverting or highly fanciful idea, often stated in figurative language
Consonance
the repetition of consonance sounds in a group of words or a line of poetry
Denouement
the resolution that occurs at the end of a play or work of fiction
Dramatic irony
a circumstance in which the audience or reader knows more about a situation than a character. Kind Oedipus, for example, unwittingly kills his own father, yet later declares that he shall find and punish his father's killer
Dramatic monologue
a poem in the form of a speech or narrative by an imagined person, in which the speaker inadvertently reveals aspects of their character while describing a particular situation or series of events.
Elegy
a poem or prose selection that laments or meditates on the passing or death of something or someone of value
Ellipsis
three periods (. . .) indicating the omission of words in a thought or quotation
End-stopped
a term that describes a line of poetry that ends with a natural pause often indicated by a mark punctuation, as in these lines from "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot:
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
Enjambment
In poetry, the use of successive lines with no punctuation or pause between them, as in these lines from Dylan Thomas's "Poem in October":
A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
Eponymous
a term for the title character of a work of literature
Fable
a short tale often featuring nonhuman characters that act as people whose actions enable the author to make observations or draw useful lessons about human behavior. Aesop's fables are obvious examples. In some respects, Orwell's Animal Farm is also a _____.
Farce
a comedy that contains an extravagant and nonsensical disregard of seriousness, although it may have a serious, scornful purpose
Free verse
a kind of poetry without rhymed lines, rhythm, or fixed metrical feet.
First-person narrative
a narrative told by a character involved in the story, using first-person pronouns such as I and we.
Foil
a minor character whose personality or attitude contrasts with that of the main character. Juxtaposing one character against another intensifies the qualities of both, to advantage or sometimes to disadvantage. In Pride and Prejudice, for example, Lydia serves as a foil for her sister, Elizabeth Bennet. Lydia is a flight and immature flirt. In contrast, Elizabeth is sensible and insightful, qualities that she demonstrates again and again in her relationships with Darcy and other characters.
Frame
a structure that provides premise or setting or a narrative. A group of pilgrims exchanging stories while on the road is the ______ for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Idyll
a lyric poem or passage that describes a kind of ideal life or place.
Light verse
a variety of poetry meant to entertain or amuse, but sometimes with a satirical thrust.
Litotes
a form of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to achieve emphasis or intensity. Example: He is not a bad dancer.
Lyric poetry
personal, reflective poetry that reveals the speaker's thoughts and feelings about the subject
Metaphysical poetry
the work of poets, particularly those of the seventeenth century, that uses elaborate conceits, is highly intellectual, and expresses the complexities of love and life
Meter
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables found in poetry
Metonymy
a figure of speech that uses the name of one thing to represent something else with which it is associated
Motif
a phrase, idea, or event that through repetition serves to unify or convey a theme in a work of literature. Tolstoy, for example, repeatedly uses descriptions of nature to reflect the personality and emotions of his characters. Similarly, Hemingway often uses rain to evoke feelings of death and despair
Non sequitur
a statement or idea that fails to follow logically from the one before
Ode
a lyric poem usually marked by a serious, respectful, and exalted feelings toward the subject
Paradox
a statement that seems self-contradictory but is nevertheless true
Pastoral
a work of literature dealing with rural life
Quatrain
a four-line poem or a four-line unit of a longer poem
Sonnet
a popular form of verse consisting of fourteen lines and a prescribed rhyme scheme. Shakespeare wrote what has become known as the Elizabethan ______. Other poets follow a form called the Italian ______, attributed to Petrarch.
Slant/near rhyme
a type of rhyme formed by words with similar but not identical sounds. In most instances, either the vowel segments are different while the consonants are identical, or vice versa.
Stanza
a group of two or more lines in poetry combined according to subject matter, rhyme, or some other plan
Stream of consciousness
a style of writing in which the author tries to reproduce the random flow of thoughts in the human mind
Synecdoche
a figure of speech in which a part signifies the whole (fifty masts for fifty ships) or the whole signifies the part (days for life). When the name of a material stands for the thing itself, as in pigskin for football, that, too is _________
Verbal irony
a discrepancy between the true meaning of a situation and the literal meaning of the written or spoken words
Verisimilitude
similar to the truth; the quality of realism in a work that persuades readers that they are getting a vision of life as it is.
Villanelle
a French verse form calculated to appear simple and spontaneous but consisting of nineteen lines and a prescribed pattern of rhymes
Voice
the real or assumed personality used by a writer or speaker. In grammar, active _______ and passive _______ refer to the use of verbs.