120 AP Literary Terms

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Can you name the 120 AP Literary Terms?

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Definition/ExampleLiterary Term
A character who contrasts with the main character
Something that has a deeper meaning
A statement of the opposite of what is meant. bitter or cutting speech
A smooth, pleasant arrangement of sounds
Language describing ideas and qualities rather than specific things. people, or places
The organizational pattern of a work
The way an author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, and sentences
An emotional cleansing through expression of emotion
A comparison using like, as, or so
'God from the machine'
Ex: FOR ti fy
The repeated use of the same grammatical structure in a sentence
Ex: My only love sprung from my only hate
A radical change in a character
Ex: bittersweet living, living death, jumbo shrimp
The ryhtmical pattern of a poem
Attribution of human characteristics to an animal or inanimate object
The true, actual events...not figurative
A figure of speech in which an explicit comparison is made between two unlike things
A label given to a literary work whose main purpose is to give guidance in moral, ethical, or religious matters
A two syllable beat with a stressed and then an unstressed syllable
The perspective from which a story is told
An all-knowing narrator
Repetition of a line, stanza, or phrase
The ability of a work to appeal to a wide segment of the reading public
A figure of speech that replaces the name of something with a word or phrase closely associated with it
Ex: much of the spoken language in Huckleberry Finn
A witty, pointed, terse saying
A form of satire that elevates low characters and low situations by using elevated language in literary traditions of the epic
A word's most literal and limited meaning
Elevating someone to the level of God
A poem, play, or story that celebrates and idealizes a simple life
What a word suggests beyond its basic definition
Ex: Owen goes over the ocean
A harsh combination of sounds
Compares an unfamiliar object or place by comparing it to the familiar
Short story illustraing a moral or religious lesson
Seize the day
A sudden flash of insight
The running over of a sentence from one verse or stanza to the next in poetry
Definition/ExampleLiterary Term
The opposite of parallel construction
Two ideas presented closely together for contrast
Extravagant language
A protagonist who carries the action of the literary piece but does not embody the classic characteristics of courage, strength and nobility
The struggle in the plot
Unrhymed poetry written in iambic pentameter
A word or group of words used to characterize a person.
Figure of speech where the subject is not alive
A literary form in which some or all of the characters are embodiments of abstract ideas. A story which carries a second meaning
The time and place in which the action of the plot occurs
Traditionally a fourteen line love poem
An element within a story that is out of its time frame
A usually formal poem expressing sorrow or lamentation for the dead
Latin for 'in the middle of things'
Ex: 'she passed away' as opposed to 'she died'
A short, emotionally expressive poem
The events following the resolution of the final conflict of the plot
Any writing that isn't poetry or drama
A stereotypical character
Quality of being intentionally unclear
Ex: All hands on deck
An error in diction caused by the substitution of one word for another similar in sound but different in meaning
One who changes as the result of actions in the plot
A story that explains the origins of God's heroes or natural phenomenon
A simple one-dimensional character
Non-literal language
A dramatic monologue
The expression of the opposite of what is intended
Poetry with no fixed metrical pattern or representation
10 syllable line made up of 5 feet with each foot containing an unaccented followed by an accented syllable
A recording of the thoughts and emotional experience of a character on one or more levels of consciousness
The art of effective communication, especially persuasive discourse
A brief quotation at the beginning of a literary work
Ex: boom, crash, bang, jitterbug
The telling of a story or an account of an event or series of events
The main character
A sentence that delivers its point at the end
The atmosphere or feeling a literary work gives the reader
The stage setting of a play
Insolence, arrogance, or pride...leads to the protagonist's downfall
Definition/ExampleLiterary Term
Two succesive rhyming lines
Ex: Arrayed and Said or Fine and Rhyme
Ex: I'm so hungry that I could eat a horse
The central idea of a literary work
A satirical imitation of a poem or other writing
Ex: any soap opera
A pause in a line of poetry
A complex or far-fetched comparison
Anything that appeals to the senses
The way a writer uses language
The writer's or speaker's attitude
A character, situation or symbol that is familiar to people from all cultures because it occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion or folklore
Humorous use of a word involving two interpretations of meaning
The use of a proper noun as a common name
Narrow in point of view or approach
Hints of what is to come
A reference to something in previous literature or history
A short speech made by an actor onstage to the audience
A short narrative poem written in songlike stanza form
Word Choice
An interruption by the introduction of an earlier event or past experience
A story where the conflict overcomes the main character
The main character or force which creates conflict
The quality of a literary work which appeals to emotion
A three beat rhythm with two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable
The opposite of hyperbole
A character centering about a single quality, one that does not grow or change during the action of the plot
The arrangement of details in such an order that the unimportant suddenly appears at the point where the critical detail should be
The use of humor to ridicule and expose the shortcomings and failings of society
Ex: To sit in solemn silence'
A short pithy statement of a principle or precept
A reasonable conclusion drawn by the reader
Ex: All nerds wear glasses
Any literary work with a happy ending
A metaphor developed at length
The repetition at close intervals of the final consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words
A four line stanza
A rhetorical device consisting of a switch in the normal word order
A literary type classified by form and technique
A humorous play depending on an exaggerated, improbable situation

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