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A.p. lit terms


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This presentation does not have any "bells and whistles" as the content does not lend itself to such. It does provide the students with the lit terms they need to know for both the course and the A P exam.

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A.p. lit terms

  1. 1. Terms which might be useful for the A.P. Literature Exam by Kathleen Curran From Barbara Swovelin’s list
  2. 2. Ad hominem argumentFrom the Latin meaning “to oragainst the man,” this is anargument that appeals toemotion rather than reason, tofeeling rather than intellect.
  3. 3. alliterationclose repetition of consonantsounds at beginning of words
  4. 4. allusionbrief reference to familiarperson/thing/incident (oftenBiblical, historical, mythologicalor literary)
  5. 5. apostrophedirectly addressing an absent orimaginary person
  6. 6. assonancerepetition of vowel sounds
  7. 7. balladnarrative poem, originally sung(ballade: a French verse form)
  8. 8. bathosexcessive pathos
  9. 9. caesurapause in line, dictated by rhythm(“A little learning… adangerous thing)
  10. 10. consonanceclose repetition of identicalconsonant sounds arounddifferent vowels(flip-flop, or at the ends of words(hid-bed)
  11. 11. couplettwo lines of verse, usuallyrhymed and of same meter
  12. 12. denoumentevents following the climax andfalling action (resolution)
  13. 13. Deus ex machina“god from machine” (saves theday)
  14. 14. dictionthe choice of words and theirplacement in sentences
  15. 15. dissonancejuxtaposition of jarring sounds
  16. 16. doggrelrough, crudely writtenverse, usually comic
  17. 17. elegydignified poem mourning death
  18. 18. end-stopped lineend of phrase or sentencecoincides with end of line(poetry)
  19. 19. epicextended narrativepoem, exalted in style and heroicin theme
  20. 20. Epic (Homeric) simileextended simile
  21. 21. epigramshort, witty statement, gracefuland ingenious
  22. 22. epiloguefinal section of speech or writtenwork (peroration)
  23. 23. epiphany“showing forth” (Greek), aninsight
  24. 24. epitaphdeath inscription (“On thewhole, I’d rather be inPhiladelphia” W.C. Fields)
  25. 25. epithetterm used to characterize aperson (Jack the Ripper)
  26. 26. fabletruth narrative illustrating amoral
  27. 27. Figurative languagemakes use of figures of speech(techniques comparing dissimilarobjects); specific figures ofspeech are listed separately
  28. 28. footgroup of syllables formingmetrical unit: iamb trochee anapest dactyl
  29. 29. formfixed metrical arrangement
  30. 30. Free verselacks regular meter and linelength (relies on natural rhythm;most modern poetry)
  31. 31. gallows humorblack humor (like dead babyjokes)
  32. 32. Genreliterary type or class, specific orgeneral (carpe diempoetry, tragedy, novels, etc.)
  33. 33. Heroic coupletpair of rhymed iambicpentameter lines
  34. 34. hyperboledeliberate exaggeration
  35. 35. imagerylanguage which evokes sensoryexperiences; engagingsight, smell, taste, etc.
  36. 36. ironywriter expresses a meaning contradictoryto stated or ostensible one: Verbal irony: attitude opposite to what is literally stated. Dramatic irony: situation understood in double sense by audience (and not by characters on stage). Situational irony: circumstances turn out to be reverse of those anticipated
  37. 37. litotesor meiosis; understatement (inHamlet, “a play of someinterest”)
  38. 38. lyricoriginally (Greek) sung to lyre;lyric poetry expresses feelings ofspeaker in words which havemusical qualities
  39. 39. metaphortwo unlike objects compared(“Life is but a walking shadow”)
  40. 40. metonymyfigure of speech, name of objectsubstituted for another (“mylight [vision] is spent”)
  41. 41. meterpattern of stressed and unstressedsyllables; see foot, a foot being themetrical unit; the following terms refer tonumber of feet per line:monometer, dimeter, trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, hexameter, heptameter, octometer. Iambic pentameter refers to aline of five feet of iambs
  42. 42. motifrecurring image, character, verbalpattern, etc.
  43. 43. Narrative versetells a story (as does anythingnarrative)
  44. 44. odelyric poem of somelength, serious in subject anddignified in style
  45. 45. onomatopoeiawords whose sounds express orreinforce their meanings
  46. 46. Ottava rimaeight lines, iambic pentameter(abababcc)
  47. 47. oxymorontwo apparently contradictoryterms (cold fires; conspicuous byhis absence)
  48. 48. Pathetic fallacyhuman characteristics given toinanimate objects
  49. 49. pathosquality which evokes feelings ofpity, sympathy, tenderness, etc
  50. 50. personaa “mask” which the authorassumes to speak to the audience
  51. 51. personificationinanimate objects endowed withhuman qualities
  52. 52. Petrarchan sonnet14 lines divided into two parts, anoctave (abbaabba) and sestet(cdecde)
  53. 53. quatrainstanza of four lines
  54. 54. repetitionduplication of an element oflanguage, such as aword, phrase, clause, etc
  55. 55. Rhyme royal7-line stanza in iambicpentameter (ababbcc)
  56. 56. Shakespearean sonnet14 lines, iambic pentameter (ababcdcd efef gg or abba cddc effe gg)
  57. 57. similecomparison using “like” or “as.”
  58. 58. Spenserian sonnetsame with rhyme of abab bcbccdcd ee
  59. 59. stanzagroup of lines that form divisionof a poem
  60. 60. stylethe qualities that make up aliterary personality or way ofwriting
  61. 61. syllogisma deductive, logicalargument, formulated aroundone major premise, one minorpremise, and a conclusion (e.g.All men are mortal; Socrates is aman; therefore, Socrates ismortal.)
  62. 62. symbolsomething that stands forsomething else, but also exists asan entity itself (a hammer andsickle for the USSR)
  63. 63. synecdochepart represents the whole (allhands on deck)
  64. 64. syntaxthe choice of words and theirplacement in sentences
  65. 65. terceta group of three lines rhymingtogether or connected by rhymewith the adjacent group orgroups of three lines
  66. 66. Terza rimaaba bcb cdc etc
  67. 67. toneauthor’s attitude toward (canalso be towards audience orboth)
  68. 68. villanellea French fixed form (5 tercetsand a quatrain, all with tworhymes)
  69. 69. Those are your terms, learn themand use them when appropriate. As we continue to read we will use these terms on a daily basis…know them!