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AP Lit Vocab Lawlor

For Mrs. Lawlor's AP Lit Summer terms

ad misericordiam An appeal to the audience's sympathy; an attempt to persuade another using a hard luck story rather than logic or reason
allegory an expression of truths about human conduct and experience (by means of symbolic fictional characters and actions)
alliteration repetition of accernted consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are close to each other
allusion a reference in literature or in art to previous literature, history, mythology, pop culture, current events, or the bible
ambiguity quality of being intentionally unclear
anachronism an element in a story that is out of its time frame
analogy explains an unfamiliar concept or object by comparing it with one which is familiar
analysis the process of examining the components of a literary work
anecdote a short and often personal story used to emphasize a point, to develop a character or a theme, or to inject humor
antagonist a character who functions as a resisting force to the goals of the protagonist
antecedent the word or phrase to which a pronoun refers
anticlimax an often disappointing, sudden end to an intense situation
antihero a protagonist who carries the action of the literary piece but does not embody the classic characteristics of courage, strength, and nobility
antithesis a concept that is directly opposed to a previously presented idea
anapest a metrical foot of poetry consisting of two unaccented syllables, followed by one accented syllable (_ _ -)
anaphora repetition of an opening word or phrase in a series of lines
aphorism a terse statement that expresses a general truth or moral principle
apostrophe a rhetorical figure of direct address to a person, object, or abstract enntity
apotheosis elevating someone to the level of a god
archetype a character, situation, or symbol that is familiar to people in all cultures because it occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion, or folklore
aside a short speech or remark made by an actor to the audience rather than to the other characters, who do not hear them-often seen in Shakespeare
assonance the repeated use of a vowel sound
attitude the author's feelings toward the topic he or she is writing about
aubade a poem or song about lovers who must leave one another in the early hours of the morning
ballad a folk song or poem passed down orally that tells a story which may be derived from an actual incident or from legend or folklore; usually in quatrains with a refrain and abcb rhyme scheme
bildungsroman a novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character
blank verse unrhymed poetry of iambic pentameter
cacophony harsh, discordant sounds, unpleasant to the ear
caesura a speech pause occurring within a line
carpe diem latin for "seize the day"
catharsis an emotional cleansing or feeling of relief
chiasmus the opposite of parallel construction; inverting the second of two phrases that would otherwise be in parallel form
colloquial of or relating to slang or regional dialect
comic relief humor that provides a release of tension and breaks up a more serious episode
conceit a far-fetched comparison between two seemingly unlike things
connotation associations a word calls to mind
consonance same consonant sound in words with different vowel sounds
couplet two successive rhyming lines of the same number of syllables, with matching cadence
dactyl foot of poetry with three syllables, one stressed and two unstressed (- _ _)
denotation the dictionary or literal meaning of a word or phrase
denouement the outcome or clarification at the end of a story or play; the winding down from climax to ending
deus ex machina literally when, the gods intervene at a story's end to resolve a seemingly impossible conflict
diction the deliberate choice of a style of language for a desired effect or tone
didactic a story, speech, essay, or play in which the author's intention is to instruct, teach, or moralize
distortion an exaggeration or stretching the truth to achieve a desired effect
enjambment in poetry, the running over of a sentence from one verse or stanza into the next without stopping at the end of the first
epigram a short, clever poem with a witty turn of thought
epigraph a brief quotation found at the beginning of a literary work, reflective of theme
epiphany a sudden flash of insight
epistolary novel a novel in the form of a letter written by one or more of the characters
essay a short composition on a single topic expressing the view or interpretation of the writer on that topic
euphemism substitution of an inoffensive word or phrase for another that would be harsh, offensive, or embarrassing
euphony the quality of a pleasant or harmonious sound of a word or group of words as an intended effect
farce a kind of comedy that depends on exaggerated or improbable situations, physical disasters, and sexual innuendo to amuse the audience
figurative language using figures of speech (metaphor, simile, metonymy, personification, hyperbole; appeals to one's senses
first person a character in the story tells the story, using the pronoun I
flashback interruption of a narrative by the introduction of an earlier event or by an image of a past experience
flat character a simple one dimensional character who remains the same, and whom little or nothing is revealed throughout the course of the work
foil a character whose contrasting personal characteristics draw attention to enhance or contrast with those of the main character
foot the basic unit used in the scansion or measurement of metrical verse; usually on stressed and one or two unstressed syllables
foreshadowing hints at what is to come
free verse poetry without rhyme or rhythm
genre the category into which a piece of writing can be classified
hamartia a tragic flaw
heroic couplet in poetry, a rhymed couplet written in iambic pentameter
hubris excessive pride
hyperbole an extreme exaggeration for literary effect that is not meant to be interpreted literally
iambic pentameter a five foot line made up of an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable
imagery anything that affects or appeals to the reader's senses
in medias res in literature, a work that begins in the middle of a story
interior monologue a literary technique used in poetry and prose that reveals a character's unspoken thoughts and feelings
internal rhyme a rhyme that is within the line, rather than at the end
inversion a switch in the normal word order (Yoda talk)
litotes affirmation of an idea using a negative understatement (opposite to hyperbole)
lyric poem a fairly short, emotionally expressive poem that expresses the feelings and observations of a single speaker
meiosis understatement
metamorphosis a radical change in character, physical or emotional
metaphor a figure of speech, which compares two similar things, asserting that one thing is another, not just that one is like another
meter the rhythmical pattern of a poem
metonymy a figure of speech that replaces the name of something with a word or phrase closely associated with it
myth a story usually with supernatural significance, that explains the origins of gods, heroes, or natural phenomena
narrative poem a poem that tells a story
near off/slant rhyme a rhyme based on an imperfect or incomplete correspondence of end syllable sounds
octave an eight line stanza
ode usually a lyric poem of moderate length, with a serious subject, elevated style, and an elaborate stanza pattern
onomatopoeia words that imitate sounds
oxymoron a figure of speech that combines two contradictory words, placed side by side
paean a hymn sung in ancient Greece in invocation of or thanksgiving to a deity; any song of praise
parable a short story illustrating a moral or religious lesson
paradox a statement or situation that at first seems impossible or oxymoronic, but solves itself and reveals meaning
parallelism the repeated use of the same grammatical structure in a sentence or a series of sentences.
parody a comical imitation of a serious piece with the intent of ridiculing the author of his/her work
pathos the quality of a literary work or passage which appeals to the reader/viewer's emotions
periodic sentence a sentence that delivers its point at the end
personification the attribution of human characteristics to an animal or inanimate object
point of view perspective of the speaker or narrator in a literary work
prose the ordinary language people use to express themselves; the opposite of poetry
protagonist the main or principal character; often considered the hero/heroine
pun harmonious play on words that have several meanings or words that sound the same and have different meanings
quatrain four line stanza
refrain repetition of a line, stanza, or phrase
repetition a word or phrase used more than once to emphasize an idea
rhetorical question a question with an obvious answer, so no response is expected
satire the use of humor to ridicule and expose the shortcomings and failings of society, hopefully to cause change
scansion the process of measuring metrical verse
sestet a six line stanza
shift in writing, a movement from one thought to another
simile a comparison of unlike things using like or as
sonnet (Shakespearean/English) a fourteen line stanza in iambic pentameter (abab, cdcd, efef, gg rhyme scheme)
sonnet (Petrarchan/Italian) fourteen line stanza divided into an octave then a sestet
spondee a metrical foot consisting of two syllables equally or almost equally accented (- -) (aka HI I'M BILLY MAYS!)
stanza a grouping of poetic lines
stock character a stereotypical character
stream of consciousness describes the unbroken flow of thought and awareness of the waking mind;in literary context used to describe the narrative method where novelists describe unspoken thoughts and feelings
structure the basic layout of a literary work (a sonnet is made of fourteen lines, a play is made of acts, etc)
style the way a writer uses language
symbol a concrete object, scene, or action which has deeper significance
synechdoche a figure of speech in which one part represents the entire object, or vice versa
syntax the way in which words, phrases, and sentences are ordered and connected
tercet a three-line stanza in terza rima as well as in other poetic forms
terza rima an italian form of iambic poetry having three lines, the middle line rhyming with the first and last of the next (ababcbcdc); made by Dante Allegheri
theme the central idea of a literary work
tone refers to the author's attitude toward the subject, often sets the mood
tragic flaw a defect in a hero/heroine that leads to their downfall
transition/segue the means to get from one portion of a poem or story to another
trochee metrical foot of poetry consisting of one stressed syllable followed by on unstressed syllable (-_)
verse metrical language, opposite of prose
zoomorphism attributing animal qualities to a god
Created by: johnthief



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