Ap English

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Ap English
2010-05-11 04:43:11
lit terms

Literary terms
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  1. Epithet
    • is an adjective or adjective
    • phrase appropriately qualifying a subject (noun) by naming a key or
    • important
    • characteristic of the subject, as in "laughing happiness," "sneering
    • contempt,"
    • "untroubled sleep," "peaceful dawn," and "lifegiving water." Sometimes
    • a metaphorical epithet will be good to use, as in "lazy road," "tired
    • landscape,"
    • "smirking billboards," "anxious apple." Aptness and brilliant
    • effectiveness
    • are the key considerations in choosing epithets. Be fresh, seek
    • striking
    • images, pay attention to connotative value.

    • At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth of
    • thieves and murderers
    • . . . . --George Herbert
    • Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to
    • hold / A sheep
    • hook . . . . --John Milton
    • In an age of pressurized happiness, we sometimes
    • grow insensitive
    • to subtle joys.
  2. Hyperbaton
    • includes several
    • rhetorical devices involving departure from normal word order. One
    • device,
    • a form of inversion, might be called delayed epithet,
    • since the
    • adjective follows the noun. If you want to amplify the adjective, the
    • inversion
    • is very useful:

    • From his seat on the bench he saw the girl content-content
    • with the
    • promise
    • that she could ride on the train again next week.
  3. Parenthesis
    • a final form
    • of hyperbaton, consists of a word, phrase, or whole sentence inserted
    • as
    • an aside in the middle of another sentence:

    • But the new calculations--and here we see the value of
    • relying upon
    • up-to-date
    • information--showed that man-powered flight was possible with this
    • design.
    • Every time I try to think of a good rhetorical example, I
    • rack my
    • brains
    • but--you guessed--nothing happens.
  4. Alliteration
    • is the recurrence
    • of initial consonant sounds. The repetition can be juxtaposed (and then
    • it is usually limited to two words):

    • Ah, what a delicious day!
    • Yes, I have read that little bundle of pernicious prose,
    • but I have no
    • comment to make upon it.
    • Done well, alliteration is a satisfying sensation.
  5. Onomatopoeia
    • is the use of words
    • whose pronunciation imitates the sound the word describes. "Buzz," for
    • example, when spoken is intended to resemble the sound of a flying
    • insect.
    • Other examples include these: slam, pow, screech, whirr, crush, sizzle,
    • crunch, wring, wrench, gouge, grind, mangle, bang, blam, pow, zap,
    • fizz,
    • urp, roar, growl, blip, click, whimper, and, of course, snap, crackle,
    • and pop. Note that the connection between sound and pronunciation is
    • sometimes
    • rather a product of imagination ("slam" and "wring" are not very good
    • imitations).
    • And note also that written language retains an aural quality, so that
    • even
    • unspoken your writing has a sound to it. Compare these sentences, for
    • instance:

    • Someone yelled, "Look out!" and I heard the skidding of
    • tires and the
    • horrible
    • noise of bending metal and breaking glass.
    • Someone yelled "Look out!" and I heard a loud screech
    • followed by a
    • grinding,
    • wrenching crash.