Literary Devices (AP Lit) Final Review
Terms in this set (60)
a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms
ex: Animal Farm
• Pigs represent those who came to power following the revolution
• "Mr. Jones," the owner of the farm, represents the overthrown Tsar Nicholas II
• "Boxer" the horse, represents the working class.
• The Russian Revolution and exposing its evils.
two or more words of a word group beginning with the same letter
ex: Janie read a book by the beautiful brook.
an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication
ex: Romeo and Juliet: Cupid's arrow
doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention
ex: Each of us saw her duck - It is not clear whether the word "duck" refers to an action of ducking, or a duck that is a bird.
a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based
ex: Just as a sword is the weapon of a warrior, a pen is the weapon of a writer.
the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of two or more successive clauses, verses, or sentences
ex: "My life is my purpose. My life is my goal. My life is my inspiration."
a short account of a particular incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature, often biographical
ex: Civil Disobedience: Henry David Thoreau's experience in jail
a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary
ex: Voldemort in Harry Potter
a writer ascribes human traits, ambitions, emotions, or entire behaviors to animals, non-human beings, natural phenomena, or objects.
(actually having the animal or object behave as if it is human)
ex: Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse
a protagonist who lacks the attributes of a heroic figure
ex: Hero- idealist, extraordinary, conventional morals (Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird)
Antihero- realist, ordinary, quirky and individual morals (Jay Gatsby from "The Great Gatsby")
a statement in which two opposing ideas are placed in sharp juxtaposition; the direct opposite
ex: Many are called, but few are chosen.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
brief statement that expresses a general principle or truth about life
ex: Your children need your presence more than your presents.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. (Self Reliance)
figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person
-Mainly in monologues or soliloquies
ex: Is this a dagger which I see before me
The handle of toward my hand? (Macbeth)
form of symbolism including characters, events, themes, settings that occur frequently in literature that appeals in a universal way
ex: the bully, the mother figure, the garden (love and fertility)
the repetition of vowel sounds within words
-Creates mood, reinforces meaning, emphasizes words, unifies lines or stanzas
ex: The cat came back to attack the man.
omission or absence of a conjunction between parts of a sentence
ex: He eats, sleeps, drinks.
the purging of emotions or relieving of emotional tensions
ex: "Here's to my love! [Drinks] O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die. [Falls]" "Romeo and Juliet"
certain words, sounds, concepts, or syntactic structures are reversed or repeated in reverse order
ex: "Never let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You."
"Love as if you would one day hate,
and hate as if you would one day love."
informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing
Ex: I think country music is getting dumped on by the Grammys.
implied meaning if a word, rather than the literal meaning
Ex: Cat can imply bad luck as well as comfort.
repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase
ex: Touch the peach on the beach.
the literal meaning of a word
Ex: "I like your shirt," she said.
"Cat" means a small, four legged animal.
the author's choice of words
Ex: Using slender instead of gaunt.
particular philosophy in art and literature that emphasizes the idea that different forms of art and literature ought to convey information and instructions (morals), along with pleasure and entertainment
ex: Aesop's Fables
a moment of sudden revelation or insight
ex: When Huck says, "All right, then, I'll GO to hell!" Then he tears up the letter he had to turn in Jim.
the repetition of phrases or words at the ends of the clauses or sentences
ex: Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
an indirect, less offensive way of saying that is considered to be unpleasant
ex: "You are becoming a little thin on top." When referring to someone balding.
a comparison of two things at length and sustained through the discourse or novel
ex: Edna Pontellier in "The Awakening" compared to a bird
figure of speech/figurative language
language employing one or more figures of speech
ex: simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personafication, alliteration, oxymoron, idioms
a character whose traits contrast with those of another character
ex: Tom Sawyer- dreamer and romantic
Huck Finn- realist
<<Ethan Frome>>: Zeena and Mattie
hints or clues to indicate events that will occur in a story
ex: <<Ethan Frome>>: the smashup
Weather: Flood at the end indicated by river or storm at the beginning
a figure of speech in which the truth is exaggerated for emphasis or effect
ex: "I wish she could brush my hair for a thousand years."
descriptive words and phrases a writer uses to recreate sensory experiences appealing to the 5 senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch
ex: He whiffed the aroma of brewed coffee
ex: The girl ran her hands on a soft satin fabric.
a conclusion one draws based on a premise or evidence
ex: Huck's food "barrel of odds and ends" means that he eats scraps.
irony: verbal, dramatic, situational
a sharp contrast between appearance and reality
Verbal-speaker's intention is the opposite of what he or she is saying
stepping out into a hurricane and saying, "What nice weather we're having!"
Dramatic-the characters are oblivious of the situation, but the audience is not
Romeo and Juliet, Romeo kills himself not knowing that Juliet is still alive.
Situational-the actual result of a situation is totally different from what you'd expect the result to be
The fire station burns down while the firemen are out on a call.
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
ex: Judges-unbiased opinion.
Making a mountain out of a molehill.
Calm and chaos.
employs an understatement by using double negatives or, in other words, a positive statement expressed by negating its opposite expressions
ex: I cannot disagree with your point of view.
the mistaken substitute of one word for another word that sounds similar
ex: Rainy weather can be hard on the sciences (sinuses).
a comparison between different things that have something in common
•Everyday is an uphill battle.
•The ball was an eagle soaring through the sky.
a figure of speech that replaces the name of a thing with the name of something else with which it is closely associated
ex: the word "crown" is used to refer to power or authority
the feeling or atmosphere a writer creates for the reader
"The river, reflecting the clear blue of the sky, glistened and sparkled as it flowed noiselessly on."
Charles Dickens creates a calm and peaceful, serene mood through this line.
a standard theme, element, or dramatic situation that recurs in various works
ex: The green light in "The Great Gatsby"
practice of treating people as objects
ex: "She shined upon him with her eyes" gives qualities of an object, like a star, to a person.
a word formed from the imitation of natural sounds
ex: bang, boom, pop, zip
a special kind of precise paradox that brings together two contradictory terms
ex: jumbo-shrimp, bittersweet, act natural, open secret, deafening silence
a statement that seems to contradict itself but may still suggest an important truth
•I know one thing; that I know nothing.
•This is the beginning of the end.
the use of similar grammatical constructions to express ideas that are related or equal in importance
ex: When you are right, you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."
sentence whose main clause is withheld until the end
ex: "To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius."
figure of speech in which an object, animal, or an idea is given human characteristics
ex: The flowers danced in the gentle breeze.
point of view
the narrative perspective from which events in a story are told
•1st person- I
•2nd person- You
•3rd person limited- He/She/They following one of two characters
•3rd person omniscient- He/She/They in an all-knowing manner
the deliberate use of many conjunctions
ex: We have ships and men and money and stores.
a technique in which a sound, word, phrase, or line is repeated for emphasis or unity
ex: The president said, "Work, work, and work," are the keys to success.
literary technique in which foolish ideas and customs are ridiculed for the purpose of improving society
ex: "What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and isn't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?"
the manner in which words are arranged into sentences
ex: The boy jumped happily.
The boy happily jumped.
Happily, the boy jumped.
a comparison using like or as
ex: The ball soared like an eagle.
the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities, by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense
•The dove is a symbol of peace.
•A red rose, or the color red, stands for love or romance.
•Black is a symbol that represents evil or death.
a part of something represents the whole, or it may use a whole to represent a part
ex: "Coke" is a synecdoche for all sodas/carbonated drinks
technique adopted by writers to present ideas, characters, or places in such a manner that they appeal to more than one sense, like hearing, sight, smell, and touch at a given time.
•I smell trouble.
•You could cut the tension in the air with a knife.
•Actions speak louder than words.
•She spoke in honeyed tones.
the attitude of the writer toward his/her subject
ex: playful, serious, fearful, somber, angry
•The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank: Youthful, Optimistic—In retrospect, the reader knows that things ended tragically for Anne Frank. Her diary, however, is full of hope, even as she deals with an incredibly difficult situation.
an ideally perfect state, especially in social, political, and moral aspects
•The Garden of Eden-aesthetically pleasing and "no knowledge of good and evil"
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