Chiasmus from Top AP English Exam Novels – 13 Words


be unable to remember

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

keep in mind for attention or consideration

“Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget.”
–Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

bend the head or upper part of body in a gesture of respect

“They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down.”
–Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

grossly irreverent toward what is considered holy

‘Anything worth living for,’ said Nately, ‘is worth dying for.’
And anything worth dying for,’ answered the sacrilegious old man, ‘is certainly worth living for.”
–Catch 22, Joseph Heller

a factual statement

“The truth is the light and the light is the truth.”
–Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

fill with distaste

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life”
–The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

a facial expression of dislike or displeasure

“…with a smile that was like a frown, and with a frown that was like a smile”
–Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

a movement downward

“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
–“The Dead,” James Joyce

beyond belief or understanding

“Often the crazy stuff is true and the normal stuff isn’t because the normal stuff is necessary to make you believe the truly incredible craziness.”
–The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

experience emotional pain

“I suffer for you…I mean…you suffer for me”
–The Assistant, Bernard Malamud

debase morally

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
–1984, George Orwell

having awareness of surroundings and sensations and thoughts

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
–1984, George Orwell

highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust

“Fair is foul and foul is fair”
–Macbeth, William Shakespeare

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