AP English Literary Terms Flashcards

Terms Definitions
uninterrupted repetition
Narrative techniques
static character
unchanging character
revelation or manifestation
Round character
Multi dimensional
Huck Finn
harsh,inharmonious or discordant sounds
intended for instruction; instructive:
a concise statement,often offering advice;an adage
any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds
Repeated use of vowel sound
a traditional story representing supernatural characters and episodes which help explain natural events
the omission of coordinating conjunctions such as in a series.
Example: "I came, I saw, I conquered"
harsh discordance of sound; dissonance:
a contrast between appearance or expectation and reality. In verbal irony the intended meaning of a statement is oposite the literal meaning ("Being paid to ski powder is a rough job, but somebody's gotta do it). Situational irony refers to an occurance or situation that contrasts with what is expected (Hardy's "Ah, are you digging..."). In dramatic irony events or facts not known to one character are known to other characters or to the audience (Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex").
The presentation of the reasons explanations for the actions of a character in any work of fiction
Creating a picture you can see
The author's attitude toward the subject
the specialized language or vocabulary of a particular group or profession
a counter-proposition and denotes a direct contrast to the original proposition.
idealizes simple lives of country folk
The passionate shepherd to his love
short, witty statement, graceful and ingenious
the repetition of consonants (or consonant patterns) especially at the ends of words
informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing
An extreme exaggeration for literary effect that is not meant to be interpreted literally
an elaborate, complex metaphor or simile comparing two extremely dissimilar things
a burial inscription, usually serious but sometimes humorous.
ad hominem
attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.
Figurative language
language that cannot be taken literally or only literally.
The act of putting in marginal thought
An image, a descriptive detail,a plot pattern, or a character type that occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion, or folklore. Used to evoke powerful emotions in the reader because it awakens a primordial image in the unconscious memory.
techniques used by the writer in creating a character
Implied or associative meaning of a word
witty language used to convey insults or scorn, form of literature in which irony, sarcasm, and ridicule are employed to attack human vice and folly
a reference to a literary or historical event, person, or place
Running over of a clauseor sentence from one line of poetry to the next w/o a grammatical pause.
Ex. The Wasteland
rhetorical question
a question that requires no answer
quality which evokes feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness,etc.
any text designed or intended to persuade the reader
a story designed to suggest a principle, illustrate a moral, or answer a question
befitting or characteristic of one of eminent rank or attainments; arrogance, commanding, domineering
A plot of secondary importance carried on in partial or complete independence of the main plot.
Figure of addition and emphasis which intentionally employs a series of conjunctions (and, or, but, for, nor, so, yet) not normally found in successive words, phrases, or clauses.
Example: " the language of duty and morality and loyalty and obligation"
the major category into which a literary work fits
of, relating to, or characterized by denunciatory or abusive language\
polite way to state something "earthly remains"
a group of three lines rhyming together or connected by rhyme with the adjacent group or groups of three lines.
those components or features of a literary composition that have to do with the form of expression rather than the content of the thought expressed:
a figure of speech involving an explicit comparison (i.e., using "like" or "as").
blank verse
a verse without rhyme; uses iambic pentameter.
Plain style
a way of writing that stresses simplicity and clarity of expression
the particular choice of words made in a literary work. This choice considers both the connotative and the denotative meanings of a word and the level or type of usage
the format of a formal argument that consists of a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion
a unifying idea that is a recurrent element i
third person limited
narrator recounts story through eyes of one character
rhetorical purpose
reason for the speaker's remarks; or define the attitude that the author would like to reader to adopt
the subject treated in a paragraph or work
the reversal of the normal order of words
a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work
the deriving of a conclusion by reasoining; inference in which the conclusion about particulars follows necessarliy from general or universal premises
deductive reasoning
a passage or section in writing that departs from the central theme or basic plot, usually within the framework of the piece of writing
a figure of speech that juxtaposes two opposite or apparently contradictory words to present an emphatic and dramatic paradox.
Example: "wise fool" or "living dead"
Shakespearian sonnet
a sonnet form divided into three quatrains and one couplet; also called an English sonnet
a term coming from the greek meaning "changed label" or "substitute name" like "white house" for presidency or "crown" for royalty. object is substituted with word associated with it.
an arrangement of a certain number of lines, usually four or more, sometimes having a fixed length, meter, or rhyme scheme, forming a division of a poem.
The structure of a story or the sequence in which the author arranges events in a story. It includes the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution.
Rhetorical Shift
A change in mood accompanied by a change in nuance. The focus may shift and it is frequently introduced with "But" or "so"
A figure of speech in speech in which someone (usually absent, some abstract quality, or nonexistent personage is directly addresses as through present.
when a writer bases a claim upon an isolated example or assserts that claim is certain rather than probable. Sweepig generalizations occur when a writer asserts that a claim applies to all instances instead of some.
free verse
a form of poetry which refrains from meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern
a french fixed form (5 tercets and a quatrain, all with two rhymes)
metaphysical poetry
The work of poets that uses conceits, is highly intellectual, and expresses the complexities of love and life
a figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else
parallel structure
the use of similar forms in writing for nouns, verbs, phrases, or thoughts; maintains balance and symmetry
Uses the interior point of view from a single observer; can usually be considered a synonym of: bias.
in medias res
refers to opening a story in the middle of the action, necessitating filing in past details by exposition or flashback; literally, "in the midst of things"
a type of metonymy in which a part of a thing stands for the whole
Elliptical Sentence
When a portion of it is gone, but the whole still makes sense
slap-stick comedy
Main character
narrative of decline
intellectually amusing language
An old English poet;bard
Humorous play on words.
Less than what it is
the nonstandard or substandard everyday speech of a particular country or region
anything that is not poetry
emotional ambiance created and established via descriptions of feelings or objects
sentence structure
type of sentences used
Figurative language in which distinctive human characteristics, e.g., honesty, emotion, volition, etc., are attributed to an animal, object, or idea.
Direct comparison of 2 different things that suggest they are somehow the same
a composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous and over the top manner
recognition of trust in Greek drama
Repetition of acented consonant sounds at the beggining of words for effect.
modified or affected by personal views, experience, or backgrounds, opposite of objective
An idealized place; an imaginary community where people live in happiness and peace.
resolution of the plot after the climax. Literally means "untying" or "unknotting" as if snarled plot strands were sorted out. Think of the realignment of lovers with their intended partners at the end of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Red- Herring
A purposeful digression meant to confuse
A section or division of long poem
The chief male character in an imaginative work. Since in popular use the word also connotes a person with certain noble qualities, the more neutral term protagonist is often preferred.
interruption of the narrative to show an episode that happened prior to that particular point in the story
the specific, exact meanign of a word.
future event is presumed to have happened
Byronic hero
Handsome, wealthy, based on Byron's literature
phrases or sentences of a similar construction/meaning placed side by side, balancing each other
the arrangement of words in sentences; sentence patterns
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
The author's feelings toward the topic he or she is writing about. Revealed through word choice.
expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortin by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations
reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes.
romantic hero
the traditional hero figure who possesses great courage, a strong sense of dedication, and other admirable qualities.
Brief story, told to illustrate a point or serve as an example of something, often shows character of an individual.
a metrical foot in poetry that consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable
A poem that celebrates, in a continuous narrative, the achievements of mighty heroes and heroines
masculine rhyme
final syllable of first word rhymes with final syllable of second word (scald recalled)
Use to adjust or modify the precedent or after.
the placing of a sentence element out of its normal position either to gain emphasis or to secure a so-called poetic effect
An expression or phrase that is so overused as to become trite
The purpose of this rhetorical mode is to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that being described. Sometimes an author engages all five senses.
the riter uses on word to govern several successive words or clauses
a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work
a drama in which a character, usually of noble and high rank, is brought to a disastrous end in confrontation with a superior force
a "mask" which the author assumes to speak to the audience
Ex: Asked if he liked blue, Joel answered, "No, I hate it. That's why I drive a blue car and wear mostly blue clothes."
medieval romance
this form of writing is based primarily on the adventures of knights, kings, or distressed ladies. the themes include love, religious faith, the desired for adventure, and often an involvement with supernatural forces. Often, the main character sets forth on a quest or journey and meets with distracting, a narrative form popular during the medieval period; this form of writing is based primarily on the adventures of knights, kings, or distressed ladies. the themes include love, religious faith, the desired for adventure, and often an involvement with supernatural forces. Often, the main character sets forth on a quest or journey and meets with distracting
expressed by verb forms (plural) that represent a state not as fact but as contingent or possible such as with doubt or desire
subjective mood
of or pertaining to the nature of heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, love affairs, and exploits
: adding an extra syllable or letters to the beginning of a word to create a poetic effect.
Example: I was afrightened by the use of prosthesis.
formal diction
language that is lofty, dignified, and impersonal
a light, simple song of sentimental or romantic character, having two or more stanzas all sung to the same melody
The central character of a story who serves as a focus for its themes and incidents and as the principal basis for its development.
Internal Rhyme
a rhyme between words in the same line
dramatic irony
the device of giving the spectator an item of information that at least one of the characters in the narrative is unaware of (at least consciously), thus placing the spectator a step ahead of at least one of the characters
iambic pentameter
a common meter in poetry consisting of an unrhymed line with five feet or accents, each foot containing an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable
balanced sentence
a sentance in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast
the use of more conjunctions in a list than is normally used
Roman A Clef
novel based on actual people and places, but written as fiction instead of fact.
turning point
the point in a work in which a significant change occurs;also know as the climax or highest point or the novel
the use of a word whose sound in some degree imitates or suggests its meaning.
Example: the cat hissed at the dog, it scared the chirping birds
Near, off, slant rhyme
A rhyme based on an imperfect or incomplete correspondence of end syllable sounds.
any poet.
four line stanza
A six line stanza
incompatible; not confroming; inconsistent within itself
Fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor (can be overdone). Idea carried thru-out
regularized rhythm of stressed and unstressed syllables; accents occur at approx. equal intervals of time
Refutation/ Refute
To prove wrong or incorrect
excited anticipation of an approaching climax
Standard theme or dramatic situation that recurs in various works
a side-by-side position, placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
situational irony
discrepancy between expectation and reality
Lyric poem
Fairly short, expresses observations, thoughts, feelings.
"She dwelt among the untrodden ways"
needless repetition which adds no meaning or understanding
a speech you make to yourself
an expert on the subject matter
a stanza of three rhyming lines.
a lyric poem consisting of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. The Petrachan or Italian sonnet generally uses and abbaabba|cdecde rhyme scheme, forming two sections (octave and sestet) that examine and develop the subject. The Shakespearian or English sonnet generally uses an abab|cdcd|efef|gg that develops the subject in the first three quatrains and draws a conclusion in the couplet.
A poetic stanza of eight lines, usually forming one part of a sonnet.
the technique of asking a question, then proceeding to answer it.
final section of speech or written work (peroration)
Freight Train
Sentence containing three or more short independent clauses joined by conjunctions
An emotional cleansing or feeling of relief.
the author's feelings toward a subject tht is revealed by the tone
The person telling the story, the source of words of the story
Excessive pride or ambition that leads to a character's downfall.
dramatic monologue
character "speaks" through the poem; a character study
The struggle that grows out of the interplay between two opposing forces.
a break or pause (usually for sense) in the middle of a verse line
Non Sequitur
an inference that does not follow logically from the premises
the repetition of the same or similar sounds, most often at the ends of lines
omission of words in a sentence with three consecutive periods
Ex. More Light!
a representation of a person that is exaggerated for comic effect
the central idea the writer is trying to persuade the reader to believe
to be, to eat, to live (grammatical term)
any short poem in which the speaker expresses intense personal emotion rather than describing a narrative or dramatic situation; a sonnet and ode are two examples
A lyric poem that is somewhat serious in subject and treatment. Written to praise and exalt a person or object
a person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast:
Deductive Reasoning
Reasoning in which ideas are at the beginning and proof follows. Essays, textual commentary, and loose sentences are deductive
stanza forms
Groups of lines with breaks in between named for their number of lines
the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
Red Herring Arguments
deliberate attempts to focus on a minor issue rather than addressing the main point
a restatement of a text in a different form or in different words, for clarity
a tribute or eulogy in prose or verse honoring people, objects, ideas, or events
Rhymed Verse
Verse that has a recurring pattern of sound.
Interrupted Sentence
A sentence that has a thrown in part usually with dashes (- - )
use of a word to govern two or more words though appropriate to only one
predicate nominative
a noun, group of nouns, or noun clause that renames the subject
for the particular end or case at hand without consideration of a wider application
ad hoc argument
informal speech
Devices of sound
Two syllables; unstressed, stressed
dignified poem mourning death
not harmonious or agreeing
Object that represents somehting else
insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity
elements of language combined together
two successive lines which rhyme, usually at the end of a work
word containing 2 short syllables followed by 1 long one
stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over. a kind of irony.
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, it is vagueness, an detracts from the work.
the relationship or organization of the component parts of a work of art or literature\
Pedantic/ Bombastic
The attempt of using elevated language. It is overly educated and does not fit.
in classical literature, it refers to the tradition of continued debate or discussion of eternally unresolved issues
the explanation of a literary text derived from close reading and careful internal analysis
Rising Action
events leading up to the climax
ends happily and presents the lighter side of life
concrete details
details that relate actual, specific things or instances
a main argument that supports the thesis
the emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described
the great world or universe; the universe considered as a whole (
repetition of the same word or words at the start of two or more lines
drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
a group of actors, speaking in unison, whose purpose is to comment on the action of the play.
a happening that is distinctive in a series of related events
Cumulative Sentence
a sentence in which the main independent clause is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases
a prose or peotic narrative in which the characters, behavoir, and even the setting demonstrates multiple levels of meaning and significance; oftern is a universal symbol or personified abstraction
Epic Machinery
immortal beings who interfere in lives of mortals
Ex. Gods of Olympus
adding an extra syllable or letter to the beginning of a word to create a poetic effect
respect and esteem paid to a superior or elder
a word, expression, or phrase that has become obsolete. Archaisms are sometimes used intentionally to evoke images, sensations, and attitudes associated with the past.
Example: "bloomers" for undergarments, "ice box" for refrigerator
terza ritma
a verse form consisting of three-line stanzas in which the second line of each rhymes with the first and third of the next
first half of parallel is reversed in second half "He thinks I am but a fool. A fool, perhaps I am"
1 The principle of poetic justice by which good characters are rewarded and bad characters are appropriately punished.
2 The cause or deliverer of such justice, who exacts vengeance and meets out rewards.
Empathy vs. Sympathy
To feel true pain and understanding for and to intellectually simulate another pain, respectively. The latter may have an air of superiority.
A five line poem in which the lines consist of the pattern aa bb a, usually used as comedy
Limited Narrator
a narrator who presents the story as it is seen and understood by a single character and restricts information to what is seen, heard, thought, or felt by that one character
omniscient narrator
a narrator who is able to know,see, and tell all,including the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters
First Person
A character in the story tells the story, using the pronoun I. This is a limited point of view since the narrator can relate only events that he or she is told about.
an essential condition or element; an indispensable thing; an absolute prerequisite
sine qua non
subject compliment
the word or clause that follows a linking verb
a poem or song about lovers who must leave one another in the early hours of the morning
Persuasive Devices
Tools used to persuade. It is a form of rhetoric.
a group of 3 lines of verse in which all 3 lines rhyme (aaa)
Grammatical mistake
fixed metrical arrangement
wave-like recurrence of sound
a story whithin a story
parallelism involving repetition at the end of successive lines
rhetorical techniques
contrast, paradox, repetition, rhetorical questions, sarcasm, understatement
a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement
an artistic movement emphasizing the imagination and characterized by incongruous juxtapositions and lack of conscious control
the language and speech idiosyncrasies of a specific area, region, or group of people
A negative understatement in which some truth is affirmed through the negation of it's opposite
Building the pyramids was no small feat
a comment that interrupts the immediate subject,often to qualify or explain
inference of a generalized conclusion from particular instance
sermon, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice
the process of examining the components of a literary work
an analysis of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre might make a reference to the novel's Gothic setting or elements of suspense.
Type of form of literature, music, ect.
Homeric Simile
an elaborate comparison using a compound word such as those Homer used in his epic poems (fleet-footed, wine-dark, bolt-hurling)
the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation
tragic irony
audience experiences a sense of foreboding while anticipating the downfall
an indirect expression; use of wordy or evasive language "'walking around' a subject"
a rhetorical term for the repetition at the end of a clause or sentence of the word or phrase with which it began
the substitution of a more offensive or disparaging word or phrase for one considered less offensive. The opposite of euphemism. Though often meant ot shock or offend, dysphemisms may also serve as in-group markers to signal closeness
a protagonist who carries the action of the literary piece but does not embody the classic characteristics of courage, strength, and nobility
Holden Caufield in the Catcher in the Rye
Pathetic fallacy
the attribution to nonhuman objects of human traits, emotions, sentiments. Often specifically the reflection in nature of human doings, such as the strange storms and the bizarre conduct of animals after the murder of Duncan in "Macbeth".
Stereotype (stock Character)
a commonly held or oversimplified mental picture or judgment of a person, a race, an issue, a kind of art
Forced rhyme
when two words don't really rhyme together, but an author uses similar spelled, or sounding words to try to create a rhyme; Ex: stone, one
Frame Device
a story within a story. Canterbury Tales in which the primary tales are told withing the "frame story" of the pilgrimage to Canterbury
Southern Gothic
Style of writing in the american south
William Faulkner
a quotation at the beginning of some piece of writing
a person's account of an event or state of affairs
The literal place and time in which the action of a work of fiction occurs, as opposed to the emotional aura evoked by the work.
a work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule
Loose sentence
long sentence starts with its main clause, followed by several dependent clauses. "The child ran, frenzied and ignoring all hazards, as if being chased by demons."
Circular Reasoning
Reasoning that ends and begins in the same place. No evidence is offered
Gothic novel
type of novel which aims at evoking terror through a gloomy setting and sensational, supernatural action.
a work in three parts, each of which is a complete work itself
Shakespearean Sonnet
a form having the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
periodic sentence
presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end. this independent clause is preceded by a phrase or clause that cannot stand alone
Trochaic Meter
A metrical foot with a long or accented syllable followed by a short or unaccented syllable:
ON-ly or TO-tal
Epistolary Novel
A novel in letter form written by one or more of the characters. The novelist can use this technique to present varying first person points of view and does not need a narrator.
Stock character
One who appears in a number of stories or plays such as cruel stepmother, etc.
Transition / Segue
The means to get from one portion of a poem or story to another. (The next day, thereafter, etc.)
imperative sentence
a command
having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.
a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance
background info provided by the writer to enhance the readers understanding of the context
writing that attempts to prove the validity of point of view or an idea by presenting reasoned arguments
natural symbols
Use objects and occurrences from nature to represent ideas commonly associated with them (dawn symbolizing hope or a new beginning, a rose symoblizing love, a tree symbolizing knowledge).
A forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something
dynamic character
a character who exhibits dynamic change throughout the course of as story's action
Common knowledge
something that is widely known; mutual understandings
a line of verse with six metrical feet
support for an argument that is based on recognized experts in the field
Can be trick for students to analyze. First try to classify what kind of sentences the author uses, and then try to determine how the author's choices amplify meaing, in other words why they work well for the author's purpose.
Flat Character
has only one or two personality traits. They are one dimensional, like a piece of cardboard. They can be summed up in one phrase.
balanced clauses
a perfectly balanced sentence has two clauses that are balanced in lengthm importance, and even structure, creating parallelism and flow; not all balanced sentences are as pure.
A clue that prepares the reader for what will happen later in the story.
aphorism/ aphoristic style
a brief statement or opinion of elemental truth.
Ben Franklin.
accentual syllabic meter
meter that is measured both by pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables and by the number of syllables per line
Narrative Technique
broad term for all the tools a writer might use to tell a story
a stable mental or psychological state; a state of equilibrium
pertaining to the sense of hearing
a fundamental form of rhetorical stress that calls the readers attention to a particular word, phrase, or image for emphasis of meaning
frame narrative
a story inside a story
perfect rhyme
words are in complete aural correspondence
an event, object, custom, person, or thing that is out of order in time
symbol/ symbolism
Generally, anything that represents or stands for something else. Usually, a symbol is something concret - such as an object, action, character, or scene. Can be much more complex.
One system classifies symbols into three categories: natual, conventional, and literary.
a world where all citizens are universally unhappy, manipulated, and repressed by a sinister, sadistic totalitarian state. This government exists at best to further its own power and at worst seeks actively to destroy its own citizens' creativity, health, and happiness. (1984)
unreliable narrator
narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised.
Black humor
grotesque or morbid humor used to express the absurdity, insensitivity, paradox, and cruelety of th modern world
a line of verse with five metrical feet
Heroic Couplet
rhymed pairs of lines in iambic pentameter
Abstract Language
What we use when we talk about intangibles and ideas, things we can't see, touch, taste, smell, or hear.
ad vericundiam appeal
testimony of an authority (like a celebrity) outside of his special field based upon his prestige - snob appeal
Point of view
the point from which people, events, and other details in a story are viewed. This term is sometimes used to include both focus and voice.
end rhyme
a word at the end of one line rhymes with a word at the end of another line
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