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AP Lit Terms: 226

5 Steps: page 226

TermDefinition
exposition Background information presented on a literary work
fable A simple, symbolic story, usually employing animals as characters. Aesop and La Fontaine are authors who excel at this form.
figurative language The body of devices that enable the writer to operate on levels other than the literal one. It includes metaphor, simile, symbol, motif, hyperbole, and others discussed in Chapter 8.
flashback A device that enables a writer to refer to past thoughts, events, episodes.
foot A metrical unit in poetry; a syllabic measure of a line: iamb, trochee, anapest, dactyl, and spondee.
foreshadowing Hints of future events in a literary work.
form The shape or structure of a literary work.
free verse Poetry without a defined form, meter, or rhyme scheme.
hyperbole Extreme exaggeration. In "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose," Burns speaks of loving "until all the seas run dry."
iamb A metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one; the most common poetic foot in the English language, (-/).
idyll A type of lyric poem which extols the virtues of an ideal place or time.
image A verbal approximation of a sensory impression, concept, or emotion.
imagery The total effect of related sensory images in a work of literature.
impressionism Writing that reflects a personal image of a character, event, or concept. "The Secret Sharer" is a fine example.
irony An unexpected twist or contrast between what happens and what was intended or expected to happen. It involves dialogue and situation, and it can be intentional or unplanned. Dramatic irony centers around the ignorance of those involved while the audienc
lyric poetry A type of poetry characterized by emotion, personal feelings, and brevity; a large and inclusive category of poetry that exhibits rhyme, meter, and reflective thought.
magical realism A type of literature that explores narratives by and about characters who inhabit and experience their reality differently from what we term the objective world. Writers who are frequently placed in this category include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gunter Gr
metaphor A direct comparison between dissimilar things. "Your eyes are stars" is an example.
metaphysical poetry Refers to the work of poets like John Donne who explore highly complex, philosophical ideas through extended metaphors and paradox.
meter A pattern of beats in poetry. (Answers to question in poetry review: 5, 3, 2, 2, 4)
metonymy A figure of speech in which a representative term is used for a larger idea. ("The pen is mightier than the sword.")
monologue A speech given by one character. (Hamlet's "To be or not to be...")
motif The repetition or variations of an image or idea in a work which is used to develop theme or characters.
narrative poem A poem that tells a story.
narrator The speaker of a literary work.
octave An eight-line stanza, usually combined with a sestet in a Petrarchan sonnet.
ode A formal, lengthy poem that celebrates a particular subject.
onomatopoeia Words that sound like the sound they represent (hiss, gurgle, bang).
oxymoron An image of contradictory terms (bittersweet, pretty ugly, giant economy size).
parable A story that operates on more than one level and usually teaches a moral lesson. ("The Pearl" by John Steinbeck is a fine example. See Allegory.)
paradox A set of seemingly contradictory elements which nevertheless reflects an underlying truth. For example, in Shakespeare's "Much Ado about Nothing," the Friar says to Hero, "Come, Lady, die to live."
parallel plot A secondary story line that mimics and reinforces the main plot. (Hamlet loses his father, as does Ophelia.)
parody A comic imitation of a work that ridicules the original.
pathos The aspects of a literary work that elicit pity from the audience.
personification The assigning of human qualities to inanimate objects or concepts. (Wordsworth personified "the sea that bares her bosom to the moon" in the poem "London, 1802.")
plot A sequence of events in a literary work.
Created by: dwilliamsRHS