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AP Lit Rosemarie

AP Literary Terms for AP lit Exam

Allegory story or poem in which characters, settings, and events, for abstract ideas.
Alliteration repetition of the same or similar consonant sounds in words that are close together.
Allusion an indirect reference to something or someone(sports, religion,etc.)
Ambiguity an event or situation that may be interpreted in more than one way,done on purpose by the author,vagueness,detracts from work.
Analogy comparison made between two things to show how they are alike.
Anaphora repetition of a word or clause done deliberately at the beginning of two or more sentences to make the writer's point more coherent.
Anastrophe inversion of the usual,normal,or logicalpurpose is rhythm.
Anecdote brief story,told to illustrate a point or serve as an example of something,often shows character of an individual.
Antagonist opponent who struggles against the hero/protagonist,in a story.
Antimetabole repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse grammatical order.
Antithesis balancing words,phrases,or ideas that are strongly contrasted,often by means of grammatical structure.
Antihero central character who lacks all the qualities traditionally associated with heroes,lacks courage,grace,intellegence.
Anthropomorphism attributing human characteristics to an animal or inanimate object(personification).
Aphorism brief,cleverly worded statement that makes a wise observation about life about life, or of a principle or accepted general truth.Also called maxim,epigram.
Apostrophe calling out to an imaginary,dead,or absent person,or to a place or thing,or a personified abstract idea.
Apposotion placing in immediately succeeding order of two or more coordinate elements,the latter of which is an explanation,qualification,or modification of the first.
Assonance the repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds especially in words that are together.
Asyndeton commas used without conjunction to separate a series of words.thus emphasizing the parts equally.
Balance constructing a sentence so that both halves are about the same length and importance.sentnces can be unbalanced to serve a special effect as well.
characterization the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.
Indirect Characterization the author reveals how the character looks, dresses,his thoughts and feelings, his actions.
Direct Characterization the author tells us directly what the character is like: sneaky,mean,etc. Romantic style is more common.
Static Character is one who does not change much in the course of a story.
Dynamic Character is one who changs in some important way as a result of the story's action.
Flat Character has only one or two personality traits. one-dimensional,can be summed up in one phrase.
Round Character has more dimensions to thier personalities--they are complex,just a real people are.
Chiasmus in poetry, a type of rhetorical balance in which the second part is syntactically balanced against the first,but with the parts reversed.
Cliche a word or phrase,often a figure of speech, that has become lifeless because of overuse.Avoid cliches like the plague.
Colloquialism a word or phrase in everyday use in conversation and informal writing but is inappropriate for formal situations.
Comedy a story that ends with a happy resolution of the conflicts faced by the main character or characters.
Conceit an elaborate metaphor that compares two things that are startlingly different.(extended metaphor)
Confessional Poetry a 20th cen term used to describe poetry that uses intimate material from the poet's life.
Conflict the struggle between opposing forces or characters in a story.
External Conflict they can exist between two people, between a person and nature or a machine or between a person a whole society.
Intrnal Conflict a conflict can be internal,involving opposing forces within a person's mind.
Connotation the associations and emotional overtones that have become attached to a word or phrase,in addition to its strict dictionary definition.
Couplet two consecutive rhyming lines of poetry.
Dialect a way of speaking that is charcteristic of a certain social group or of the inhabitants of a certain geographical area.
Diction a spaker or writer's choice of words.
Didactic form of fiction of nonfiction that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behvior of thinking.
Elegy a poem of mourning ,usually about someone who has died.
Epanalepsis device of repetition in which the same expression is repeated both at the beginning and at the end of the line,clause, or sentence.
Epic a long narrative poem,written in heightened languge,which recounts the deeds of a heroic character who embodies the values of a particular society.
Epigraph a quotation or aphorism at the beginning of a literary work suggestive of the theme.
Epistrophe device of repetition in which the same expression is repeated at the end of two or more lines,clauses, or sentence.
Epithet an adjective oradjective phrase applied to a person or thing that is frequently used to emphasize a characteristic qualiy.
Essay a short piece of nonfiction prose in which the writer discusses some aspect of a subject.
Argumentation one of the four forms of discourse which uses logic,ethics,and emotional appeals to develop an effective means to convince the reader to think or act in a certain way.
Persuasion relies more on emotional appeals than on facts.
Argument form of persuasion that appeals to reason instead of emotion to convince an audience to think or act in a certain way.
Casual Relationship form of argumentation in which the writer claims that one thing results from another,often used as part of a logical argument.
Description a form of discourse that uses language to create a mood or emotion.
Exposition one of the four major forms of discourse,in which something is explained or "set forth."
Narrative the form of discourse that tells about a series of events.
Explication act of interpreting or discovering the meaning of a text,usually involves close reading and special attention to figurative language.
Fable a very short story told in a prose or poetry that teaches a practical lesson about how to succeed in life.
Farce a type of comedy in which ridiculous and often stereotyped characters are involved in silly,far-fetched situations.
Figurative Language words which are inaccurate if interpreted literally,but are used to describe..(Smilies&Metaphors usually.)
FlashBack a scene that interrupts the normal chronological sequence of events in a story to depict something that happened at an earlier time.
Foil a charcter who acts as contrast to another character.Often a funny sidekick to the dashing hero,or a villan contrasting the hero.
Foreshadowing the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot.
Free Verse poetry that does not conform to a regular meter or rhyme scheme.
Hyperbole a figure of speech that uses an incredible exaggeration or overstatement, for effect.
Hypotactic sentence marked by the use of connecting words between clauses or sentences,explicitly showing the logical or other relationships between them.
Imagery the use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person,a thing,a place,or an experience.
Inversion the reversal of the normal word order in a sentence or phrase.
Irony a discrepancy between appearances and reality.
Verbal Irony occurs when someone says on thing but really means something else.
Situational Irony takes place when there is discrepancy between what is expected to happen,or what would be appropropriate to happen,and what really does happen.
Dramatic Irony often used on stage,when a character in the play or story thinks one thing is true,but the audience or reader knows better.
Juxtaposition poetic and rhetorical device in which normally unassociated ideaswords,or phrases are placed next to one another,creating an effectof surprise and wit.
Litotes is a form of understatement in which the positive form is emphasized through the negation of a negative form.
Local Color a term applied to fiction or poetry which tends to place special emphasis on a particular setting,including its customs,clothing,dialect and landscape.
Loose Sentence one in which the main clause comes first,followed bu further dependent grammatical units.
Lyric Poem a poem that does not tell a story but expresses the personal feelings or thoughts of the speaker. A ballad tells a story.
Metaphor a figure f speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things without the use of such specific words of comparison as like,as,than,or resembles.
Implied Metaphor doesn't state explicitly the two terms of the comparison.
Extended Metaphor a metaphorthat is extended or developed as far as the writer wants to take it.
Dead Metaphor a metaphor that has been used so often that the comparison is no longer vivid."the head of the horse."
Mixed Metaphor a metaphor that has gotten out of control and mixes its terms so that they are visually or imaginatively incompatible.
Metonymy a figure of speech in which a person,place,or thing,is referred to by something closely associated with it.
Mood an atmosphere created by a writer's diction and the details selected.
Motif a recurring image,word,phrse,action,idea,object,or situation used throughtout a work,unifying the work by tying the current situation to the previous ones, or new ideas to the theme.
Motivation the reasons for a character's behavior.
Onomatopoeia the use of words whose sounds echo their sense."pop"
Oxymoron a figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory terms in a brief phrase.
Parable a relatively short story that teaches a moral, or lesson about how to lead a good life.
Paradox a statement that appears self-contradictory,but that reveals a kind of truth.
Koan a paradox used in Zen Buddhism to gain intuitive knowledge.
Parallel Structure the repetition of words or phrases that have similar grammatical structures.
Paratactic Sentence simply juxtaposes clauses or sentences."i am tired: it is hot."
Parody a work that makes fun of another work by imitating some aspect of the writer's style.
Periodic sentence that places the main idea or central complete throught at the end of the sentence, after all introductory elements.
Personification a figure orf speech in which an object or animal is given human qualities.
Plot the series of related events in a story or play,sometimes called the storyline.
Exposition introduces charaters,situation, and setting
Rising Action complications in conflict and situations.
Climax that point in a polt that creates the greatest inensity,suspense,or interest."turning point."
Resolution the conclusion of a story,when all or most of the conflicts have been settled:often called the denouement.
Point of View the vantage point from which the writer tells the story.
First person POV one of the characterts tells the story.
Third Person POV unknown narrator,focuses on feelings of only one character.
Omniscient POV an omniscient or all knowing narrator tells the story,also using the third person pronouns.tells everything about all characters.
Objective POV a narrator who is totally impersonal and objective tells the story,with no comment on any characters or events.
Polysyndeton sentence which uses a conjunction with no commas to separate the items in a series.x&y&z.
Protagonist the central charcter in a story,the one who initiates or drives the action.
Pun a "play on words"based on the multiple meanings of a single word or on words that sound alike but mean different things.
Quatrain a poem consisting of four lines,or four lines of a poem that can be considered as a unit.
Refrain a word,phrase,line,or group of lines that is repeated,for effect,several times in a poem.
Rhythm a rise and fall of the voice produced by the alteration of stressed and unstresses syllables in language.
Rhetoric art effective communication,especially persuasive discourse.
Rhetorical Question a question asked for an effect,and not actually requiring an answer.
Romance in general,a story in which an idealized hero or heroine undertakes a quest and is successful.
Satire a type of writing that ridicules the shortcomings of people or institutions in an attempt to breing about a change.
Simile a figure of speech that makes an explicitly comparison between two unlike things,using like,as,than.
Soliloquy a long speech made by a character in a play while no other characters are on stage.
Stereotype a fixed idea or conception of a character or an idea which does not allow for any individuality,often based on religious,social,or racial prejudices.
Stream of Consciousness a stlye of writing that portrys the inner workings of a chracter's mind.
Style the distinctive way in which a writer uses language:a writer's distinctive use of diction,tone,and syntax.
Suspense a feeling of uncertainty and curiosity about what will happen next in a story.
Symbol a person,place,thing,or event that has meaning in itself and that also stands for something more than itself.
Synecdoche a figure of speech in which a part represents the whole.
Syntactic Fluency ability to create a variety of sentence structures,appropriately complex and/or simple and varied in length.
Syntactic Permutation sentence structures that are extraordinarily complex and involved.often difficult for a reader to follow.
Tall Tale an outrageously exaggerated,humorous story that is obviously unbelievable.
Telegraphic Sentence a sentence shorter than five words in length.
Theme the insight about human life that is revealed in a literary work.
Tone 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.
Tragedy in general,a story in which a heroic character either dies or comes to some other unhappy end.
Tricolon sentence of three parts of equal importance and length,usually three independent clauses.
Understatement a statement that says less than what is meant.
Unity unified parts of the writing are related to one central idea or organizing principle.unity is dependent upon coherence.
Vernacular the language spoken by the people who live in a particular locality.
Impressionism a 19th cen 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.
Modernism a term for the bold new experimental styles and forms that swept the arts during the first third of the 20th cen.
Naturalism a 19th cen literary movement that was an extension of realism and that claimed to portray life exactly as it was.
Plain Style Writing style that stresses simplicity and clarity of expression,and was the main form of the puritan writers.
Puritanism writing style of America's early English-speaking colonist.emphasizes obedience to god and consists mainly of journals,sermons,and poems.
Rationalism a movement that begun in Europe in the 17th cen,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.
Realism a style of writing,developed in the 19th cen,that attempts to depict life accurately without idealizing or romanticizing it.
Regionalism literature that emphasizes a specific geographic setting and that reproduces the speech,behavior,and sttitudes of the people who live in that region.
Romanticism a revolt against Rationalism that affected literature and the other arts,beginning in the late 18th cen and remaining strong throughout most of the 19th cen.
Surrealism in movement in art and literature that started in Europe during the 1920s.surrealists 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.
Symbolism a literary movement that originated in the late 19th cen France,in which writers rearranged the world of appearances in order to reveal a more truthful version of reality.
Transcendentalism a 19th cen movement in the Romantic tradition,which held that every individual can reach ultimate truths through spiritual intuition,which transcends reasons and sensory experience.
Created by: changa_gorda



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