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AP Literary Terms: Basics
Terms in this set (39)
a direct comparison of unlike things without the use of the words "like" or "as". Rather, one thing is compared to another as if they were the same.
any type of written or oral work that is primarily concerned with relating an event or a series of events.
Can be imaginary, as is a short story or novel, or it can be factual, as is a newspaper account or a work of history.
a combination of two words that contradict each other.
ie) Pretty Ugly
a seemingly contradictory or absurd statement that may nonetheless suggest an important truth.
Describing an object, animal, or idea with human qualities
a series of connected events that are brought to some kind of conclusion, sometimes a happy one, sometimes an unhappy one. Most contain a problem to be resolved
point of View
FIRST PERSON: when a character within a story tells the action from his/her point of view
THIRD PERSON: When a narrator outside the action describes events and characters
LIMITED THIRD PERSON: "fly on the wall" perspective--narrator reports what an observer would see or hear or witness
OMNISCIENT THIRD PERSON: all-knowing: narrator can tell us a character's thoughts and feelings, as well as actions
Ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse
The character who faces the central problem in the story and must overcome obstacles in order to solve it
A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a weakness or an inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances
The attitude the writer takes towards the subject. The language and details a writer chooses (ie. playful, serious, bitter, angry, detached). Reflects the feelings of the writer
The central idea or message in a work of literature. Should not be confused with subject or what the work is about. It is a perception about life or human nature shared with the reader
Refers to the order of the words as they are arranged in a sentence.
A person, place, or object that represents something beyond itself
one who does not change during the course of the story. Also called, "FIXED"--opposite of dynamic character
A generally long speech in a drama delivered by a character alone onstage. Character reveals his or her innermost thought and feelings directly to the audience, as if thinking aloud
Comparing unlike things with the use of the words "like" or "as"
The time, place, and circumstances in which a narrative or drama takes place
Once the conflict is introduced, the plot continues with complication that lead to a climax
1. the undue use of exaggeration for display
2. the art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse
3. the study of the effective use of language
4. the ability to use language effectively
5. the art of prose in general as opposed to verse
The repetition of like consonant sounds at the beginning of words grouped together
An indirect or implied reference
The character or force that opposes the protagonist
A speech in a play in which a character expresses his thoughts in words that can be heard by the audience but supposedly not by the other characters around him.
The personality a character displays; also, the means by which the writer reveals that personality
1. Character's actions
2. Character's thoughts and speeches
3. A physical description of the character
4. The opinions others have about the character
5. A direct statement about the character telling what the writer thinks of him or her
The point at which we learn whether the character we sympathize with succeeds or fails. The point of greatest interest and emotional intensity.
The first requirement for a plot is a problem that the main character faces and wants to solve. Character becomes involved in a struggle of some kind.
The point in the story in which the tangles of the plot are untied and a resolution to the conflict is found: a CONCLUSION
SITUATIONAL IRONY: occurs when a character or the reader expects one thing to happen but something entirely different occurs
VERBAL IRONY: occurs when someone says one thing but means another
DRAMATIC IRONY: refers to the contrast between what a character knows and what the reader or audience knows
Author's use of words that help readers see, hear, feel, taste, and smell the things being described
A category or type of literature
ie) fiction, poetry, science-fiction, romance, mystery, horror, drama, biography
Suspense is often increased in a story when the writer hints what will happen later in the story
A character used to set off another by direct contrast or direct resemblance
An account of a conversation, an episode, or an event that happened earlier, even before the beginning of the story. Usually interrupts the chronological flow of a story to give information that can help readers to understand a character's present situation.
Language that is not intended to be interpreted in a literal sense, including figure of speech (metaphor, simile, personification)
The events of a dramatic or narrative plot that follow the climax
Lays the groundwork for the plot and provides the reader with essential information. Characters are introduced, setting is described, plot begins to unfold. Does not always have to be at beginning of story
A character who changes during the course of a story, learns or becomes enlightened, and grow or deteriorates
Writer's choice of words.
-Formal, informal, technical, common, abstract, concrete, literal, figurative
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