A direct or indirect reference to something which is presumably commonly known, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art. Allusions can be historical, literary, religious, topical, or mythical. There are many more possibilities, and a work may
simultaneously use multiple layers of allusion.
Related to style, diction refers to the writer's word choices, especially with regard to their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness. For the AP exam, you should be able to describe an author's diction (for example, formal or informal, ornate or plain) and understand the ways in which diction can complement the author's purpose. Diction, combined with syntax, figurative language,
literary devices, etc., creates an author's style.
The major category into which a literary work fits. The basic divisions of literature are prose, poetry, and drama. However, genre is a flexible term; within these broad boundaries exist many subdivisions that are often called genres themselves. For example, prose can be divided into fiction (novels and short stories) or nonfiction (essays, biographies, autobiographies, etc.). Poetry can be divided into lyric, dramatic, narrative, epic, etc. Drama can be divided into tragedy, comedy, melodrama, farce, etc. On the AP language exam, expect the majority of the passages to be from the following genres: autobiography, biography, diaries, criticism,
essays, and journalistic, political, scientific, and nature writing.
The sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions. On a physical level, imagery uses terms related to the five senses: visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory. On a broader and deeper level, however, one image can represent more than one thing. For example, a rose may present visual imagery while also representing the color in a woman's cheeks and/or symbolizing some degree of perfection. An author may use complex imagery while simultaneously employing other figures of speech, especially metaphor and simile. In addition, this term can apply to the total of all the images in a
work. On the AP language exam, pay attention to how an author creates imagery and to the effect of this imagery.
Also referred to as parallel construction or parallel structure, this term comes from Greek roots meaning "beside one another." It refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity. This can involve, but is not limited to, repetition of a grammatical element such as a preposition or verbal phrase. (Again, the opening of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities is an example: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of believe, it was the epoch of incredulity....") The effects of parallelism are numerous, but frequently they act as an organizing force to attract the reader's attention, add emphasis and organization, or simply provide a musical
In literature, the perspective from which a story is told. There are two general divisions of point of view, and many (1) first person narrator tells the story with the first person pronoun, "I," and is a character in the story. This narrator can be the (2) third person narrator relates the events with the third person pronouns, "he," "she," and "it." There are two main subdivisions to
subdivisions within those.
protagonist, a secondary character, or an observing character.
be aware of: a. third person omniscient, in which the narrator, with godlike knowledge, presents the thoughts and actions of any or all characters b. third person limited omniscient, in which the narrator presents the feelings and thoughts of only one character, presenting only the actions of all the remaining characters.
view, the appropriate point for you to address is the author's attitude.
In addition, be aware that the term point of view carries an additional meaning. When you are asked to analyze the author's point of
This flexible term describes the variety, the conventions, and the purposes of the major kinds of writing. The four
(1) The purpose of exposition (or expository writing) is to explain and analyze information by presenting an idea, relevant evidence,
(2) The purpose of argumentation is to prove the validity of an idea, or point of view, by presenting sound reasoning, discussion, and argument that thoroughly convince the reader. Persuasive writing is a type of argumentation having an additional aim of urging some form of action
(3) The purpose of description is to recreate, invent, or visually present a person, place, event or action so that the reader can picture that being described. Sometimes an author engages all five senses in description; good descriptive writing can be sensuous and
(4) The purpose of narration is to tell a story or narrate an event or series of events. This writing mode frequently uses the tools of
most common rhetorical modes (often referred to as "modes of discourse") are as follows: and appropriate discussion. The AP language exam essay questions are frequently expository topics.
picturesque. Descriptive writing may be straightforward and objective or highly emotional an subjective. descriptive writing.
A work that targets human vices and follies or social institutions and conventions for reform or ridicule. Regardless of whether or not the work aims to reform human behavior, satire is best seen as a style of writing rather than a purpose for writing. It can be recognized by the many devices used effectively by the satirist: irony, wit, parody, caricature, hyperbole, understatement, and sarcasm. The effects of satire are varied, depending on the writer's goal, but good satire, often humorous, is thought provoking and insightful about the human condition. Some modern satirists include Joseph Heller (Catch 22) and Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle,
The consideration of style has two purposes: devices. Some authors' styles are so idiosyncratic that we can quickly recognize works by the same author. can be called flowery, explicit, succinct, rambling, bombastic, commonplace, incisive, laconic, etc.
(1) An evaluation of the sum of the choices an author makes in blending diction, syntax, figurative language, and other literary We can analyze and describe an author's personal style and make judgments on how appropriate it is to the author's purpose. Styles (2) Classification of authors to a group and comparison of an author to similar authors. By means of such classification and comparison, we can see how an author's style reflects and helps to define a historical period, such as the Renaissance or the Victorian
period, or a literary movement, such as the romantic, transcendental, or realist movement.
The word (with any accompanying phrases) or clause that follows a linking verb and complements, or completes, the subject of the sentence by either (1) renaming it (the predicate nominative) or (2) describing it (the predicate adjective).
(1) the predicate nominative - a noun, group of nouns, or noun clause that renames the subject. It, like the predicate adjective, follows
These are defined below:
a linking verb and is located in the predicate of the sentence. Example: Julia Roberts is a movie star. movie star = predicate nominative, as it renames the subject, Julia Roberts
the sentence, and modifies, or describes, the subject. Example: Warren remained optimistic. optimistic = predicate adjective, as it modifies the subject, Warren
(2) the predicate adjective -- an adjective, a group of adjectives, or adjective clause that follows a linking verb. It is in the predicate of
Like all clauses, this word group contains both a subject and a verb (plus any accompanying phrases or modifiers), but unlike the independent clause, the subordinate clause cannot stand alone; it does not express a complete thought. Also called a dependent clause, the subordinate clause depends on a main clause (or independent clause) to complete its meaning. Easily recognized key words and phrases usually begin these clauses. For example: although, because, unless, if, even though, since, as soon
as, while, who, when, where, how and that. Example: Yellowstone is a national park in the West that is known for its geysers. underlined phrase = subordinate clause
Generally, anything that represents itself and stands for something else. Usually a symbol is something concrete -- such as an object, action, character, or scene - that represents something more abstract. However, symbols and symbolism can be (1) natural symbols are objects and occurrences from nature to symbolize ideas commonly associated with them (dawn symbolizing (2) conventional symbols are those that have been invested with meaning by a group (religious symbols such as a cross or Star of David; national symbols, such as a flag or an eagle; or group symbols, such as a skull and crossbones for pirates or the scale of justice (3) literary symbols are sometimes also conventional in the sense that they are found in a variety of works and are more generally
On the AP exam, try to determine what abstraction an object is a symbol for and to what extent it is successful in representing that
much more complex. One system classifies symbols into three categories: hope or a new beginning, a rose symbolizing love, a tree symbolizing knowledge).
for lawyers). recognized. However, a work's symbols may be more complicated, as is the jungle in Heart of Darkness. abstraction.
Similar to mood, tone describes the author's attitude toward his material, the audience, or both. Tone is easier to determine in spoken language than in written language. Considering how a work would sound if it were read aloud can help in identifying an author's tone. Some words describing tone are playful, serious, businesslike, sarcastic, humorous, formal, ornate, sardonic, somber,
A word or phrase that links different ideas. Used especially, although not exclusively, in expository and argumentative writing, transitions effectively signal a shift from one idea to another. A few commonly used transitional words or phrases are furthermore, consequently, nevertheless, for example, in addition, likewise, similarly, on the contrary, etc. More sophisticated writers use more subtle means of transition. Kaye Wiley