AP Lit Terms

Figurative Language
Refers to an applied figure of speech.

Figurative Language
It can be literal or figurative.

Figurative Language
A rhetorical device that achieves a special effect by using words in distinctive ways.

Figurative Language
Alliteration, Anaphora, Antithesis, Apostrophe, Assonance, Asyndeton, Chiasmus, Euphemism, Hyperbole, Idiom, Irony, Litotes, Metaphor, Metonymy, Onomatopoeia, Oxymoron, Paradox, Personification, Pun, Simile, Synecdoche, Synesthesia, Understatement

Alliteration
The repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close together.

Alliteration
Larry licked the lollipop.

Alliteration
The dressy daffodils dazzled the dreamers.

Anaphora
The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses… strong emotional effect.

Anaphora
“I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

Anaphora
“Looking at Each Other”… Muriel Rukeyser
Yes, we were looking at each other
Yes, we knew each other very well
Yes, we had made love with each other many times

Antithesis
The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases or clauses…LOOK for opposites.

Antithesis
A tale of Two Cities… Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Chiasmus
A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first with parts reversed.

Chiasmus
The Road… Cormac McCarthy
“You forget what you want to remember, and remember what you want to forget.”

Apostrophe
A direct address to something that cannot respond.

Apostrophe
Keats addresses a bright star and speaks to it knowing that it will not respond to him.

Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together.

Assonance
Adam at an apple.

Assonance
Low with mellower tone.

Asyndeton
A writing style in which conjunctions are omitted, producing a fast-paced and rapid prose.

Asyndeton
“I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Euphemism
The substitution of mild expression for one thought to be blunt, harsh or offensive.

Euphemism
“Letting someone go” vs firing someone

Hyperbole
Exaggeration or overstatement.

Hyperbole
I would climb the highest mountain just to be with you for a moment.

Idiom
An expression that makes no sense when interpreted literally.

Idiom
“Turn over a new leaf”
“Jump the gun”
“Grab the bull by the horns”
“People coming out of the woodwork”

Verbal Irony
Saying one thing, but meaning another.

Verbal Irony
Can be sarcastic, humorous, or serious.

Verbal Irony
To a student who made a 50 on a test… “Thank you for raising the bar for excellence.”

Situational Irony
Expecting one outcome but getting another.

Situational Irony
Thriller movies with twists and/or surprise endings thrive on _______ _________.

Dramatic Irony
Occurs when an audience is aware of something that the characters on stage, television, or film are not.

Dramatic Irony
Horror films thrive on _______ _______… Clueless Carla enters a room while whistling gleefully. Chainsaw Charley is waiting in the closet.

Litote
A figure of speech in which an affirmation is made indirectly by saying its opposite, usually with an effect of understatement.

Litotes
“I’d not be adverse to a drink”
“Her execution did her no little harm.”

Metaphor
A figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common.

Metaphor
“The streets were a furnace, the sun an executioner.”

Metonymy
A figure of speech in which a commonly associated feature is used to name or designate something.

Metonymy
“I was stopped by the law”
“He is a man of the cloth”
“The pen is mightier than the sword”

Onomatopoeia
The use of a word whose sound imitates its meaning.

Onomatopoeia
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Boom
Sizzle
Buzz
Clap

Oxymoron
Combining contradictory words.

Oxymoron
Jumbo Shrimp
Same Difference
Pretty Ugly
Wise Fool
Bitter Sweet
Deafening Silence

Paradox
An apparent contradiction that is actually true.

Paradox
“You will be lesser than Macbeth, and greater.”
Love is: blissful and miserable, painful and healing, physical and emotional, fragile and strong

Personification
Giving human characteristics to anything nonhuman.

Personification
The flowers opened their arms to the sun.
The leaves danced in the wind.
The ocean swam ashore only to find the beach uninterested.

Pun
A figure of speech which consists of a deliberate confusion of similar words or phrases for rhetorical effect, whether humorous or serious.

Pun
“When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.”
“Practice safe eating- use condiments.”

Simile
A comparison using like or as.

Simile
He ran through the forest like a cheetah pursuing its prey.
As bright as the sun, Hank entered the arena with optimism.

Synecdoche
A figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent the whole.

Synecdoche
“Give us this day our daily bread”
“And I have known the arms already”
“They did not harm a hair on the old man’s head”

Synaesthesia
The juxtaposition of one sensory image with another that appeals to a different sense.

Synaesthesia
“Sweet laughter”
“Loud yellow”
“Her eyes cut my skin”

Understatement
A type of verbal irony in which something is purposely represented as being far less important than it actually is.

Understatement
“So it goes” from Slaughterhouse-Five

Diction
Word choice.

Diction
________ drives the tone and mood of a piece of writing.

Tone
Attitude/Mood

Tone
If a reader misinterprets this, he or she will usually miss the message of the piece too… this is especially true for poetry.

Allusion
A reference to someone or something that is known from history, literature, sports, religion, politics, science, or some other branch of culture.

Allusion
The title of William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury is an ________ to Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Imagery
Language that appeals to the senses.

Syntax
The way words are put together to form phrases, clauses, sentences, stanzas, etc.

Syntax
__________ is all about style and structure and its influence on a reader’s interpretation.

Syntax; Diction
__________ and __________ are closely linked… they both impact the tone and mood of any given piece of writing.

Iambic Pentameter
A line of poetry with five iambic feet… 10 syllables

Iambic Foot
a metrical foot (Two syllables) consisting of an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable.

Iambic Pentameter
When I see birches bend from left to right
Along the lines of straighter, darker trees.

Blank Verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter

Heroic Couplet
Rhymed iambic pentameter.

Heroic Couplet
The rhyme scheme/pattern MUST follow the couplet format… aa, bb, cc, dd, etc.

Meter
A regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry.

Meter
Iambic pentameter is an example of __________.

Free Verse
Poetry with no set rhyme or meter. Often flows like prose.

Dramatic Monologue
Always appears in poetry. A poem in which a character addresses one or more listeners who remain silent. Reveals the thoughts, feelings, desires, intentions, worries, etc. of the narrator.

Soliloquy
Always appears in drama. A speech delivered by a character who is usually alone on stage. Character expresses his or her private thoughts and feelings.

Enjambment
The running over from one line of verse to the next without a punctuated pause.

Enjambment
“Sharp violin proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,”

Connotation
The implications of a word or phrase as opposed to its exact meaning.

Farce
A type of humor in which ridiculous and often stereotyped characters are involved in silly, far-fetched situations.

Farce
Slapstick comedy.

Farce
The Three Stooges, circus clowns

Parody
The imitation of a work of literature, art, music, etc. for purposes of entertainment.

Parody
Monty Python, SNL, Weird Al

Satire
A type of writing that ridicules the shortcomings of people or institutions in an attempt to bring about change.

Motif
A recurring image, word, phrase, action, idea, object, situation, person, etc.

Motif
The “rain” in AFTA
The flowers and the lady in black in The Awakening
“So it goes” in Slaughterhouse-Five

Symbol
Anything that stands for or represents something beyond itself.

Theme
The insight or big idea about human life that is revealed in a literary work.

Theme
The Scarlet Letter: people are often branded based on one minute.

Existentialism
A philosophical movement that focuses on the individual human being’s recognition of, experience of, and triumph over the meaninglessness of existence.

Transcendentalism
A 19th century movement in the romantic tradition.

Narcissism
Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.

Narcissism
Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.

Pathos
A quality, as of an experience or a work of art, that arouses feelings of pity, sympathy, compassion, tenderness, and/or sorrow.