Complete List of Terms and Definitions for "a" ap english lit terms

Terms Definitions
syllogism deductive reasoning
Repartee witty replies
octave 8 lines
cacophony harsh, discordant sounds
diaphanous light, delicate, translucent
derisive Contemptuous; cruelly mocking
Verse a piece of poetry
gadfly a persistently annoying person
adulation Excessive flattery or admiration.
author's choice of words diction
nemesis poetic justice good characters rewarded bad characters punished
couplet two lines of rhyming poetry
antithesis the juxtaposition of sharply contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words, phrases, grammatical structure, or ideas
Genre A sub-category of literature. Science-fiction and detective stories are genres of fiction
naturalism a nineteenth-century literary movement that was an extension of realism and that claimed to portray life exactly as it was.
paradox statement that appears self contradictory, but reveals a truth
suppliant Asking humbly and earnestly; beseeching.
antithesis  establishing a clear, contrasting relationship between two ideas by joining them together or juxtaposing them often in parallel structure
wit words that are intellectually amusing; delight that surprises
hubris excessive pride that leads to downfall
mood the atmosphere suggested by the structure and style of the poem
simile indirect comparison using "like" or "as"
Complex a sentence that includes one independent clause and at least one dependent clause
Similie A figurative comparison using the words like or as
Conceit an elaborate metaphor that compares two things that are startlingly different.
Often an extended metaphor.
Assonance the sequential repetition of vowel sounds particularly in stressed syllables
personification giving an inanimate object human qualities or form
sarcasm sharp, caustic expression or remark; bitter gibe or remark
round character more complex that flat/stock characters and often display the inconsistencies and internal conflicts found in most real people; more fully developed, and harder to summarize
archetype a character, situation, or symbol that is familiar to people from all cultures
feminine rhyme falling rhyme; ending with unaccented last syllable
madrigal short lyric on love or pastoral themes
understatement saying less than one means, for effect
satire mode of writing based on ridicule, which criticizes the faults of society
generic conventions Describes tradition for each genre, helps define a genre
Farce a comedy characterized by broad satire and improbable situations
gothic characterized by gloom and mystery and the grotesque
Tricolon Sentence of three parts of equal importance and length, usually three independent clauses.
Aside A speech (usually just a short comment) made by an actor to the audience, as though momentarily stepping outside of the action on stage. (See soliloquy.)
Aesthetic an adjective meaning "appealing to the senses." Aesthetic judgment is a phrase synonymous with artistic judgment. As a noun, an aesthetic is a coherent sense of taste. The kid whose room is painted black, who sleeps in a coffin, and listens to only funeral music has an aesthetic. The kid whose room is filled with pictures of kittens and daisies but who sleeps in a coffin and listens to polka music has confused aesthetic. The plural noun, aesthetics, is the study of beauty. Questions like what is beauty? Or, is the beautiful always good? Fall into the category of aesthetics.
apostrophe act of addressing some abstraction or personification that is not present
chiaroscuro juxtaposition of light and shade in artwork or literature
doggerel crude, simplistic verse - often in sing-song rhyme
hyperbole a figure of speech that uses exaggeration or overstatement
alliteration the repetition of identical or similar consonant sounds, normally at the beginning of words
austere Severe or stern in disposition or appearance; somber and grave.
setting the physical and social context in which the action of a story occurs. major elements are time, place, and social environment. can be used to evoke a mood or atmosphere that prepares reader for what is to come
assonance the repeated use of a vowel sound
pair of lines that end in rhyme couplet
paradigm a formal plan or sequence of changes which acts as a model
epigraph a quotation at the start of a work
Pastoral a work that describes the simple life of country folk. Also known as ecologue, bucolic, or idyll
synechdoche figure of speech utilizing a part as representative of the whole
Ellipsis omission of words from a text; mark used to indicate an omission (when the meaning can be understood without them); PL. ellipses
attitude the sense expressed by the tone of voice and/or the mood of a piece of writing
Metaphor A figure of speech that compares like objects, without using like or as
Implied Metaphor does not state explicitly the two terms of the comparison.
Symbol a person, place, thing, or event that has meaning in itself and that also stands for something more than itself.
Soliloquy A speech spoken by a character alone on stage. A soliloquy is meant to convey the impression that the audience is listening to the character's thoughts. Unlike an aside, a soliloquy is not meant to imply that the actor acknowledges the audience's presence
Onomatopoeia the use of words whose sound suggest their meaning (ex. buzz, bang, hiss).
climax the arrangement of words or phrases or clauses in an order of ascending power
refrain a regularly repeated line or group of lines in a poem or song
dramatic monologue when a single speaker in literature says something to a silent audience
allegory a story in which people, things, and events have another meaning
structure the pattern or organization of a work as a whole, used in a significant manner.
ars poetica a poem written on the subject of poetic art, usually explaining poet's reasons for writing
continuous form a poem in which lines follow each other without stanza breaks
Ad Hominem argument appeals more to emotion rather than reason
elegy a poetic lament upon the death of a particular person, usually ending in consolation
Comedy referred to a genre of drama, the word comedy came to mean any play or narrative poem in which the main characters manage to avert an impending disaster and have a happy ending. The comedy did not necessarily have to be funny.
syntax The way a author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, and sentences.
Iambic pentameter A line of poetry that contains five iambs, which are feet that contain one unstreesed and one stresssed syllable ( U / ). This type of meter most closely matches the rhythm of natural english speech.
situational irony what happens is different from what is expected to happen
First-person narrator I in the story presents point of view of only one character; narrator is restricted to perceptions, thoughts, and feelings of that single character
third person omnisicient pov the author tells the story using the third person she knows all and is free to tell anything