1 Literary Terms Review AP Literature
2 Overview This is not a conclusive list of literary terms for AP Literature; students should be familiar with these terms at the beginning of the year. Please review the terms and ensure that you know each definition and could identify an example by Tuesday, September 11/Wednesday, September 12.
3 I. Narrative A narrative is a sequence of events that a narrator tells in a story form. A narrator is a storyteller of any kind.
4 Set I.i Point of View Point of View the perspective that a narrative takes toward the events it describes
5 Set I.i Point of View First Person Narration A narrative in which the narrator tells the story from his/her own point of view and refers to him/herself as I.
6 Set I.i Point of View Third Person Narration The narrator remains outside the story and describes the characters in the story using proper names and he, she, it, and they.
7 Set I.i Point of View Third Person Narration Omniscient Narration The narrator knows all of the actions, feelings, and motivations of all of the characters.
8 Set I.i Point of View Third Person Narration Limited Omniscient Narration The narrator knows the actions, feelings, and motivations of only one or a handful of characters.
9 Set I.i Point of View Third Person Narration Free Indirect Discourse The narrator conveys a character s inner thoughts while staying in third person.
10 Set I.i Point of View Objective Narrator A style in which the narrator reports neutrally on the outward behavior of the characters but offers no interpretation of their actions or their inner states.
11 Set I.i Point of View Unreliable Narrator The narrator is revealed over time to be an untrustworthy source of information.
12 Set I.i Point of View Stream-of-Consciousness Narration The narrator conveys a subject s thoughts, impressions, and perceptions exactly as they occur, often in a disjointed fashion and without the logic, and grammar of typical speech and writing.
13 Set I.ii Character Character A person, animal, or any other thing with a personality that appears in a story.
14 Set I.ii Character Protagonist The main character around whom the story revolves.
15 Set I.ii Character Protagonist Hero/Heroine an admirable protagonist
16 Set I.ii Character Antagonist The primary character or entity that acts to frustrate the goals of the protagonist.
17 Set I.ii Character Stock Character a common character type that recurs throughout the literature
18 Set I.ii Character Dynamic Character A character that undergoes some kind of change because of the action in the plot.
19 Set I.ii Character Flat Character A character that embodies one or two qualities, ideas, or traits that can be readily described in a brief summary. These are not psychologically complex characters and therefore are readily accessible to readers.
20 Set I.ii Character Round Character Characters that are more complex than flat or stock characters, and often display the inconsistencies and internal conflicts found in most real people. They are more fully developed, and therefore are harder to summarize.
21 Set I.ii Character Foil Character A character who illuminates the qualities of another character by means of contrast.
22 Set I.ii Character Confidant/Confidante A character who is not integral to the action but who receives the intimate thoughts of the protagonist without the use of an omniscient narrator.
23 Set I.iii Characterization Characterization The process by which a writer reveals the personality of a character, making that character seem real to the reader.
24 Set I.iii Characterization Direct Characterization The author intervenes to describe and sometimes evaluate the character for the reader. For example, the narrator may tell the reader directly what the character s personality is like: humble, ambitious, vain, gullible, etc.
25 Set I.iii Characterization Indirect Characterization The author presents a character s talking and acting and lets the reader infer what kind of person the character is.
26 Set I.iv Setting Setting The location of a narrative in time and space.
27 Set I.v Plot Plot The arrangement of the events in a story, including the sequence in which they are told, the relative emphasis they are given, and the casual connections between events.
28 Set I.v Plot Conflict The central struggle that moves the plot forward.
29 Set I.v Plot Rising Action The early part of the narrative, which builds momentum and develops the narrative s major conflict.
30 Set I.v Plot Climax The moment of highest tension, at which the conflict comes to a head.
31 Set I.v Plot Falling Action The latter part of the narrative, during which the protagonist responds to the events of the climax and the various plots elements introduced earlier in the plot.
32 Set I.v Plot Resolution An ending that satisfactory answers all the questions raised over the course of the plot.
33 Elements of Style
34 Set II.i Figures of Speech Figures of Speech Expressions that stretch words beyond their literal meanings.
35 Set II.i Figures of Speech Alliteration The repetition of similar consonant sounds at the beginning of words/
36 Set II.i Figures of Speech Apostrophe A direct address to an absent or dead person, or to an object, quality or idea.
37 Set II.i Figures of Speech Assonance The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sequence of nearby words.
38 Set II.i Figures of Speech Cacophony The clash of discordant sounds within a sentence or phrase.
39 Set II.i Figures of Speech Cliche An expression such as turn over a new leaf that has been used so frequently it has lost its expressive power.
40 Set II.i Figures of Speech Hyperbole An excessive statement or conscious exaggeration of fact.
41 Set II.i Figures of Speech Metaphor The comparison of one thing to another that does not use the terms like or as.
42 Set II.i Figures of Speech Metaphor Mixed Metaphor A combination of metaphors that produces a confused or contradictory image, such as The company s collapse left mountains of debt in its wake.
43 Set II.i Figures of Speech Metonymy The substitution of one term for another that generally is associated with it. For example, suits instead of businessman
44 Set II.i Figures of Speech Onomatopoeia The use of words, such as pop, hiss, and boing, that sounds like the thing they refer to.
45 Set II.i Figures of Speech Oxymoron The association of two contrary terms, such as in the expressions same difference or wise fools
46 Set II.i Figures of Speech Paradox A statement that seems absurd or even contradictory on its face but often expresses a deeper truth.
47 Set II.i Figures of Speech Personification The use of human characteristics to describe animals, things, or ideas.
48 Set II.i Figures of Speech Rhetorical Question A question that is asked not to elicit a response but to make an impact or call attention to something.
49 Set II.i Figures of Speech Simile A comparison of two things through the use of like or as.
50 Set II.i Figures of Speech Synaesthesia The use of one kind of sensory experience to describe another, such as the line Heard melodies are sweet in John Keats s Ode to a Grecian Urn.
51 Set II.i Figures of Speech Synecdoche A form of metonymy in which a part of an entity is used to refer to the whole, for example, my wheels for my car.
52 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Literary Techniques Whereas figures of speech work on the level of individual words or sentences, writers also use a variety of techniques to add clarity or intensity to a larger passage, advance the plot in a particular way, or suggest connections between elements in the plot.
53 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Antithesis Definition
54 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Allusion An implicit reference within a literary work to a historical or literary person, place, or event.
55 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Foreshadowing An author s deliberate use of hints or suggestions to give a preview of events or themes that do not develop until later in the narrative.
56 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Irony A wide-ranging technique of detachment that draws awareness to the discrepancy between words and the meanings, between expectation and fulfillment, or, most generally, between what is and what seems to be.
57 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Irony Verbal Irony The use of a statement that, by its context implies its opposite.
58 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Irony Situational Irony A technique in which one understanding of a situation stands in sharp contrast to another, usually more prevalent, understanding of the same situation.
59 Set II.ii Literary Techniques Irony Dramatic Irony A technique in which the author lets the audience or reader in on a character s situation while the character himself remains in the dark.
60 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Thematic Meaning Literature becomes universal when it draws connections between the particular and the general. Often, certain level s of a literary work s meaning are not immediately evident.
61 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Imagery Language that brings to mind sense-impressions especially via figures of speech.
62 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Motif A recurring structure of, contrast, or other device that develops or informs a work s major themes.
63 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Symbol An object, character, figure, or color that is used to represent an abstract idea or concept.
64 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Theme A fundamental and universal idea explored in a literary work.
65 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Thesis The central argument that an author makes in a work.
66 Set II.iii Thematic Meaning Tone The general atmosphere created in a story, or the narrator s attitude toward the story or reader.