AP Lit Terms 3 Epithet-Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet

An adjective or phrase applied to a noun to accentuate a certain characteristic. Ex: The Founding Fathers; Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, that Mr. Rogers-looking fool.

A succession of words which are pleasing to the ear.

These words may be alliterative, utilize consonance or assonance, and are often used in poetry but also seen in prose. Opposite of cacophony.

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The act of substituting a harsh, blunt, or offensive comment for a more politically accepted or positive one.

A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans

Falling Action
In a tragedy, the portion of the plot that follows the climax or the crisis and that leads to or culminates in the catastrophe. In other genres, it leads to the resolution of the plot.

Figurative Language
Speech or writing that departs from literal meaning in order to achieve a special effect or meaning. Speech or writing employing figures of speech.

A character that by contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics of another.

The metrical length of a line is determined by the number of feet it contains.Monometer: One footDimeter: Two feetTrimeter: Three feetTetrameter: Four feetPentameter: Five feetHexameter: Six feetHeptameter: Seven feetThe most common feet have two to three syllables, with one stressed.

Giving prominence to something in a literary work that would not be accentuated in ordinary discourse.

Introducing into narrative material that prepares the reader for future events, actions, or revelations

A style of literary criticism from the 30s. It’s what we do for AP: the literary work is an object in its own right.

We analyze what’s on the page, not the author’s life or social forces. This allows us to deal with any piece of literature, whether we are familiar with the context or author or not.

Frame Story
A story that contains another story or stories.

Free Verse
Poetry that lacks a regular meter, does not rhyme, and uses irregular line lengths.

Freytag’s Pyramid
Gustav Freytag’s conception of the typical structure of a five-act play: introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, catastrophe.

The classification of literary works on the basis of their content, form, or technique.Ex: Prose/Poetry, Epic/Drama/Lyric, Comedy/Tragedy/Pastoral/Satire

A genre characterized by a general mood of decay, suspense, and terror; action that is dramatic and generally violent or otherwise disturbing; loves that are destructively passionate; and landscapes that are grandiose, if gloomy or bleak.

Strangely unusual things, bizarre or unnatural combinations of characteristics or images.

Originally a biography recounting a saint’s life. Now it can refer to writing about a revered individual.

An error in judgment made by a tragic hero that brings about the suffering, downfall, and often death of that hero.

Harlem Renaissance
An intellectual and cultural movement of the 1920s centered in Harlem, then a predominantly African American section of New York City. Commonly dated 1919-1937.

The expression of an idea by the use of usually two independent words connected by and (as nice and warm) instead of the usual combination of independent word and its modifier (as nicely warm)

Synonymous with protagonist, main character of a work

Used in Greek tragedies, refers to excessive pride that usually leads to a hero’s downfall.

Also known as a transferred epithet, is the trope in which a modifier, usually an adjective, is applied to the “wrong” word in the sentence. The word whose modifier is thus displaced can either be actually present in the sentence, or it can be implied logically. The effect often stresses the emotions or feelings of the individual by expanding them on to the environment.

A generic term for changing the normal or expected order of words.

“One ad does not a survey make.” The term comes from the Greek for “overstepping” because one or more words “overstep” their normal position and appear elsewhere.

A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or comic/dramatic effect.

A metrical foot in poetry that consists of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable. Ex: afloat, respect, in love.

A narrative work, usually short, descriptive, and composed in verse that depicts and exalts pastoral scenes and themes. The simple shepherd’s life is a typical subject. Often composed from the viewpoint of a “civilized” society that longs for something more primal, natural, or innocent.

The use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas

In Medias Res
A literary technique of beginning the narrative in the middle of the action. Used to “hook” the reader or audience.

Interior Monologue
A literary technique for rendering stream of consciousness by reproducing a character’s mental flow. Presents thoughts, emotions, and sensations as experienced by the character.

Internal Rhyme
A rhyme that occurs within a line of verse. Ex: “They took some honey and plenty of money/Wrapped in a five-pound note.”

The condition of interconnectedness among texts, or the concept that any text is an amalgam of others, either because it exhibits signs of influence or because its language inevitably contains common points of reference with other texts through such things as allusion, quotation, genre, style, and even revisions.

An intentional digression from ordinary word order which is used to maintain regular meters.

For example, rather than saying “the rain came” a poem may say “came the rain”. Meters can be formed by the insertion or absence of a pause.

When one thing should occur, is apparent, or in logical sequence, but the opposite occurs. A man in the ocean might say, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

” Dramatic Irony: When the audience or reader knows something characters do not know Verbal Irony: When one thing is said, but something else, usually the opposite, is meantCosmic Irony: When a higher power toys with human expectations

Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet
A poem with fourteen lines. An Italian sonnet subdivides into two quatrains and two tercets (or an octave which presents a problem and a sestet which ponders a solution). Rhyme scheme is typically ABBAABBA followed by CDCDCD or a (variation).