AP Lang Vocabulary

Topics: Sentence, Literature, Fiction Pages: 8 (1846 words) Published: October 15, 2013
Literary Terms (General) —AP

I. Literary Types—names for the various types of literary expression: 1. Allegory: a tale in which characters, actions, or settings represent abstract ideas or moral qualities. Allegorical stories can also be viewed as extended or continued metaphors.

2. Allusion: a casual or brief reference to a person, place, event, or literary work that a writer expects the reader to recognize but doesn’t fully develop. The writer hopes to clarify or enhance the subject that is under discussion by linking into an outside concept or illustration without sidetracking the reader.

3. Anecdote: a brief story of a specific incident used to illustrate a point.

4. Aphorism: a brief, memorable, sometimes witty statement of a principle or opinion (terms that you need to know that more or less mean the same thing are: epigram, maxim, or adage).

5. Cacophony: language which seems rough and unmusical to the ear (opposite of euphony).

6. Euphony: language that seems to be smooth, pleasant, and musical to the ear (opposite of cacophony)

7. Colloquialism: an expression that uses slang or informal speech or writing.

8. Euphemism: a more general or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept.

9. Fable: a short tale used to teach a moral or lesson (often uses animals as characters).

10. Frame (story/narrative): an introductory narrative within which one or more of the characters proceed to tell the story.

11. Homily: this term literally means “sermon,” but more informally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.

12. Invective: an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language (terms that you need to know that more or less mean the same thing are: Obloquy, Diatribe, Vituperation).

13. Myth: an anonymous traditional story that usually serves to explain a belief, custom, or mysterious natural phenomenon.

14. Parody: the humorous imitation of a work of literature, art, or music.

15. Prose: the ordinary form of spoken or written language (as opposed to poetry). the adjective form (prosaic) usually indicates that something is thought to be dull, unimaginative, everyday, or ordinary.

16. Purple patch: a passage conspicuous for brilliance or effectiveness in a work that is dull, commonplace, or uninspired (also called purple passage)

17. Satire: a kind of writing that holds up to ridicule or contempt the weaknesses and wrongdoings of a thing (individuals, groups, institutions, humanity in general) in order to ultimately change it. Satiric tools include: irony, exaggeration, sarcasm, understatement, and a non-judgmental, accepting, often serious tone on the part of the speaker/observer. The effect of these satiric techniques is often humorous, but whereas comedy and parody use laughter as an end in itself, satire uses it as a weapon to ridicule something outside the text (institutions, et al.) in order to change it.

18. Soliloquy: a long speech in which a character that is usually alone onstage expresses his or her private thoughts or feelings in such a way to be seemingly speaking to himself or herself.

II. Literary Analysis—terms used in the analysis of literature: 19. Archetype: the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies.

20. Attitude: a writer’s intellectual position or emotion regarding the subject of the writing. On the AP exam, note the writer’s attitude and how it is conveyed. —An analysis of attitude requires an examination of devices such as diction, imagery, descriptive detail, figurative language, syntax, etc.

21. Connotation: the range of secondary or associated meanings and emotions that a word suggests or implies (compare to denotation)

22. Denotation: a word’s primary meaning and significance; its dictionary definition (compare to connotation)

23. Descriptive Detail: refers to the...
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