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AP Literary Terms
Terms in this set (88)
story or poem in which characters, settings, and events stand for other people or events or for abstract ideas or qualities
reference to someone or something that is known from history, literature, religion, politics, sports, science, or another branch of culture
an indirect reference to something
deliberately suggesting two or more different, and sometimes conflicting, meanings in a work
An event or situation that may be interpreted in more than one way- this is done on purpose by the author, when it is not done on purpose, its is vagueness, and detracts from the work
comparison made between two things to show how they are alike
repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. This is a deliberate form of repetition and helps make the writer's point more coherent.
inversion of the usual, normal, or logical order of the parts of a sentence. Purpose is rhythm or emphasis or euphony. It is a fancy word for inversion.
brief story, told to illustrate a point or serve as an example of something, often shows character of an individual
repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse grammatical order.
called "chiasmus" in poetry
balancing words, phrases, or ideas that are strongly contrasted, often by means of grammatical structure.
central character who lacks all the qualities traditionally associated with heroes. May lack courage, grace, intelligence, or moral scruples.
attributing human characteristics to an animal or inanimate object (personification)
brief, cleverly worded statements that makes a wise observation about life, or of a principle or accepted general truth.
Also called maxim, epigram.
calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent person, or to a place or thing, or a personified abstract idea.
a type of apostrophe. The character is asking a god or goddess for inspiration.
Placing in immediately succeeding order of two or more coordinate elements, the latter of which is an explanation, qualification, or modification of the first (often set off by a colon).
commas used without conjunction to separate a series of words, thus emphasizing the parts equally.
X,Y,Z not X, Y, and Z
constructing a sentence so that both halves are about the same length and importance. Sentences can be unbalanced to serve a special effect as well.
in poetry, a type of rhetorical balance in with the second part is syntactically balanced against the first, but with the parts reversed.
In prose this is called antimetabole.
it's a word or phrase, often a figure of speech, that has become lifeless because of overuse.
a word or phrase in everyday use in conversation and informal writing but is inappropriate for formal conversation.
in general, a story that ends with a happy resolution of the conflicts faced by the main character or characters.
a twentieth century term used to describe poetry that uses intimate material from the poet's life.
the associations and emotional overtones that have become attached to a word or phrase, in addition to its strict dictionary definition.
a speaker or writer's choice of words
form of fiction or nonfiction that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behavior or thinking.
a poem of mourning, usually about someone who has died
great praise or commendation, a laudatory speech, often about someone who has died
device of repetition in which the same expression (single word or phrase) is repeated both at the begining and at the end of the life, clause, or sentence
"Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire
a long narrative poem, written in heightened language, which recounts the deeds of a heroic character who embodies the value of a particular society
a quotation or aphorism at the beginning of a literary work suggestive of the theme
Device of repetition in which the same expression (single word or phrase) is repeated at the end of two or more lines, clauses, or sentences (it is the opposite of anaphora)
an adjective or adjective phrase applied to a person or thing that is frequently used to emphasize a characteristic quality. "Father of our country" or "the great Emancipator"
compound adjective used with a person or thing
"Swift-footed Achilles" "rosy-fingered dawn"
one of the four forms of discourse which uses logic, ethics, and emotional appeals (logos, ethos, pathos) to develop an effective means to convince the reader to think or act in a certain way
relies more on emotional appeals than on facts
form of persuasion essay that appeals to reason instead of emotion to convince an audience to think or act in a certain way
a form of argumentation in which the writer claims that one thing results from another, often used as a part of logical argument
a form of discourse that uses language to create a mood or emotion
one of the four major forms of discourse, in which something is explained or "set forth"
form of discourse that tells about a series of events
act of interpreting or discovering the meaning of a text, usually involves close reading and special attention to figurative language
a very short story told in prose or poetry that teaches a practical lesson about how to succeed in life
words which are inaccurate if interpreted literally, but are used to describe. Similes and metaphors are common forms.
poetry that does not conform to regular meter or rhyme
sentence marked by the use of connecting words between clauses or sentences, explicitly showing the logical or other relationships between them. "I am tired because it is hot."
the use of language to evoke a picture or concrete sensation of a person, a thing, a place, or an experience.
the reversal of the normal word order in a sentence or phrase.
takes place when there is a discrepancy between what is expected to happen, or what would be appropriate to happen, and what really does happen
a character in the play or story thinks one thing is true, but the audience or reader knows better
a form of understatement in which the positive form is emphasized through the negation of a negative form.
a term applied to fiction or poetry which tends to place special emphasis on a particular setting, including its customs, clothing, dialect, and landscape
one in which the main clause comes first, followed by further dependent grammatical units
a poem that does not tell a story but expresses the personal feelings or thoughts of the speaker
a poem that tells a story
a metaphor that has been used so often that the comparison is no longer vivid.
a metaphor that has gotten out of control and mixes its terms so that they are visually or imaginatively incompatible.
an atmosphere created by a writer's diction and the details selected.
a figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory terms in a brief phrase
a statement that appears self-contradictory, but that reveals a kind of truth
a paradox used in Zen Buddhism to gain intuitive knowledge
"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
Parallel structure (parallelism)
the repetition of words or phrases that have similar grammatical structures
simply juxtaposes clauses or sentences. I am tired: it is hot.
sentence that places the main idea or central complete thought at the end of the sentence, after all introductory elements
sentence which uses a conjunction with NO commas to separate the items in a series.
Instead of X, Y, and Z...it is X and Y and Z.
a rise and fall of the voice produced by the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables in language.
art of effective communication, especially persuasive discourse
in general, a story in which an idealized hero or heroine undertakes a quest and is successful
a figure of speech in which a part represents the whole
ability to create a variety of sentence structures, appropriately complex and/or simple and varied in length
sentence structures that are extraordinarily complex and involved. Often difficult for a reader to follow.
a sentence shorter than 5 words in length
the attitude a writer takes toward the subject of a work, the characters in it, or the audience, revealed through diction, figurative language, and organization
in general, a story in which a heroic character either dies or comes to some other unhappy end
sentence of three parts of equal importance and length, usually three independent clauses
a statement that says less than what is meant
unified parts of the writing are related to one central idea or organizing principle. Unity is dependent upon coherence
a 19th century movement in literature and art which advocated a recording of the artist's personal impressions of the world, rather than a strict representation of reality.
a term for the bold new experimental styles and forms that swept the arts during the first third of the 20th century
a 19th century movement that was an extension of realism and that claimed to portray life exactly as it was
writing style that stresses simplicity and clarity of expression (but will still utilize allusions and metaphors), and was the main form of the Puritan writers.
writing style of America's early English-speaking colonists, emphasizes obedience to God and consists mainly of journals, sermons, and poems.
a movement that began in Europe in the 17th century, which held that we can arrive at truth by using our reason rather than relying on the authority of the past, on the authority of the Church, or an institution.
ALSO CALLED NEOCLASSISM AND AGE OF REASON
a style of writing, developed in the 19th century, that attempts to depict life accurately without idealizing or romanticizing it
a revolt against Rationalism that affected literature and the other arts, beginning in the late 18th century and remaining strong throughout most of the 19th centruy
a revolt against Rationalism that affected literature and the other arts, beginning in the late 18th century and remaining strong throughout most of the 19th century.
movement in art and literature that started in Europe during the 1920s. These people wanted to replace conventional realism with the full expression of the unconscious mind, which they considered to be more real than the "real" world of appearances.
a literary movement that originated in the late 19th century France, in which writers rearranged the world of appearances in order to reveal a more truthful version of reality
a 19th century movement in the Romantic tradition, which held that every individual can reach ultimate truths through spiritual intuition, which transcends reasons and sensory experience.
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