AP English Lit exam terms – 38 Words

allegory

a short moral story

narrative

consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story

character

an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction

alliteration

use of the same consonant at the beginning of each word

repetition

the continued use of the same word or word pattern

apostrophe

an address to an absent or imaginary person

ballad

a narrative poem of popular origin

stanza

a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem

dialogue

the lines spoken by characters in drama or fiction

rhyme

correspondence in the final sounds of two or more lines

rhythm

alternation of stressed and unstressed elements in speech

theme

a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary work

symmetry

balance among the parts of something

climax

the decisive moment in a novel or play

denouement

the resolution of the main complication of a literary work

plot

the story that is told, as in a novel, play, movie, etc.

diction

the manner in which something is expressed in words

elegy

a mournful poem; a lament for the dead

epic

a long narrative poem telling of a hero’s deeds

setting

the context and environment in which something is situated

epithet

descriptive word or phrase

figurative

not literal

hyperbole

extravagant exaggeration

exaggeration

the act of making something more noticeable than usual

irony

incongruity between what might be expected and what occurs

literal

limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text

lyric

of or relating to poetry that expresses emotion

metaphor

a figure of speech that suggests a non-literal similarity

simile

a figure of speech expressing a resemblance between things

oxymoron

conjoined contradictory terms

paradox

a statement that contradicts itself

pastoral

a literary work idealizing the rural life

pathos

a quality that arouses emotions, especially pity or sorrow

rhetoric

using language effectively to please or persuade

satire

witty language used to convey insults or scorn

soliloquy

a dramatic speech giving the illusion of unspoken reflection

symbol

something visible that represents something invisible

vignette

a brief literary description
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