AP Literature Terms
Terms in this set (25)
The repetition of the same initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables in any sequence of neighboring words
A reference to another work of literature, person, or event
Purpose: Allusion allows the audience to connect the characteristics of one object/concept to another. More often than not, an allusion in a literary work refers to some feature of another, previous literary work.
Comparing two things or instances in time often based on their structure and used to explain a complex idea in simpler terms
A device used to create contrast by placing two parallel but opposite ideas in a sentence
Repetition of consonant sounds two or more times in short succession within a sentence or phrase
Purpose: Consonance is, again, a device used by writers in order to create focus on a particular part of a piece. In many cases, consonance appears in poetry as a device used to create slant rhymes.
A writer's or speaker's choice of words
Purpose: Diction is the umbrella term used to identify an author's choice of words. This is important to define because understanding diction allows the reader to identify other concepts like the tone of a piece, the intended audience, or even the era in which the piece was written.
in a sentence, the omission of a word or words replaced by three periods
Purpose: Often, ellipsis is used to omit some parts of a sentence or even an entire story, forcing the reader to figuratively fill in the gaps. This heavily depends on the reader being not only invested but also immersed in the story enough to care about what happens during those gaps.
A characteristic spirit of a given culture, era, or community or its beliefs; Ethos, in purely rhetorical terms, is a label used to identify an appeal to the ethics of a culture or individual
An intentionally exaggerated statement or claim not meant to be taken literally but creating a desired humorous effect
Visually descriptive or figurative language
Purpose: Imagery is used to characterize objects, actions, and ideas in a way that appeals to our physical senses. The true purpose of imagery is to create a visual imagination of the scenarios or things being described.
The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite of what the writer intends to achieve a humorous effect or to add emphasis.
A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction
Purpose: An oxymoron is a juxtaposition of two opposing words with the intended effect of creating emphasis through the nonsensical nature of this device. Oxymoron is used to characterize conflicting emotions, thoughts, or occurrences.
A quality that evokes pity or sadness
Purpose: Pathos is a term used to identify an appeal to the pathetic. A writer may want a reader to sympathize with a character and employ a pathetic appeal to inspire feelings of pity, sympathy, or sadness.
The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristic to a nonhuman or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
Purpose: A writer might employ personification in order to apply human characteristics to something nonhuman, thus furthering the writer's use of imagery and figurative language
A thing that represents or stands for another thing like an object that represents an abstract idea
Purpose: Employing symbolism is a way for a writer to attach meaning to an object or action, some symbol within the piece, that goes beyond the face-value of the symbol itself. Symbols represent something more than their literal meanings.
A protagonist who is markedly unheroic: morally weak, cowardly, dishonest, or any number of other unsavory qualities.
The use of disturbing themes in comedy.
In poetry, using deliberately harsh, awkward sounds.
Everything other than the literal meaning that a word suggests or implies.
When the audience knows something that the characters in the drama do not
The continuation of a syntactic unit from one line or couplet of a poem to the next with no pause.
The excessive pride or ambition that leads to the main character's downfall
treating facts without influence from personal feelings or prejudices
a personal presentation of events and characters, influenced by the author's feelings and opinions
Stream of Consciousness
Author places the reader inside the main character's head and makes the reader privy to all of the character's thoughts as they scroll through her consciousness.