Ap English Lit Terms
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The key feature is the number of stressed syllables in each line, without regard to the unstressed syllables.
- Used most prominently in Greek and Latin poetry.
- The distinctive feature is the relative length of the utterance (long or short) of the syllables that constitute a poetic line.
Depends on the number of syllables in a line, without regard to their stress.
- An unstressed followed by a stressed syllable.
- "He thought/ he kept/ the u/ niverse/ alone."
- Two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one.
- -"And the eyes/ of the sleep/ ers waxed dead/ ly and chill"
- A stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.
- -"Dou ble/ double/ toil and / trouble,
- fire/ burn and / cauldron/ bubble."
- A stressed syllable followed by two that are unstressed.
- -"Cannon in/ front of them
- volleyed and / thundered"
A line comprised of five iambs
"When you/ are old/ and grey/ and full/ of sleep"
Made up of three feet of trochees
"Higher/ still and / higher"
"Woman much/ missed, how you/ call to me,/ call to me"
- Contain a complete sentence or independent clause and so have a distinct pause at the end, usually indicated by a mark of punctuation.
- "The sea is calm tonight."
- The sentence or clause continues for two or more lines of verse; no punctuation appears at the end.
- "She is as in a field a silken tent/ At midday when sunny summer breeze/ Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,"
- Rhyme occurs within a line of poetry rather than at the end.
- "And binding with briars my joys and desires."
- Rhymes that end on a stressed syllable
- "fond/ pond"
- Rhymes that end on an unstressed syllable
- "hasty/ tasty"
- "attention/ dimension"
- Partial rather than perfect, varying the corresponding vowel sounds and/or the consonant sounds
- When words look on the page like perfect rhymes but over time have come to be pronounced differently
- A word, phrase, line, or group of liens that is repeated at intervals.
- "Way down south in Dixie / (break the heart of me)/ Way down south in Dixie"
Has a recurrent pattern of meter and line length but without rhyme.
Alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter
Petrarchan Sonnet (Italian)
Broken up into eight and six lines.
Shakespearean Sonnet (English)
Three quatrains and a couplet
- A witty saying in either verse or prose, concisely phrased and often satiric.
- "What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole, / Its body brevity, and its wit soul."
- A terse statement on a serious subject
- "The love of money is the root of all evil."
Inanimate aspects of nature, such as the landscape or the weather, are represented as having human qualities or feelings.
- A figure of thought in which the term for part of something is used to represent the whole, or the term for the whole is used to represent a part.
- Food needed for sustenance= "daily bread"
- Trope that substitutes the name of an entity with something else that is closely associated with it.
- "The throne" means "the king"
- A trope in which a statement that appears on the surface to be contradictory or impossible turns out to express an often striking truth.
- "Less is more"
- A point is affirmed by negating its opposite.
- Surface denial serves, through ironic contrast, to reinforce the underlying assertion.
- Type of understatement
- "He's no fool" implies he's wise and "not uncommon" implies frequent.
- A point is stated by deliberate circumlocution, rather than directly.
- Ex. Euphemisms.
- A word or phrase that has disparate meanings is used in a way that makes each meaning equally relevant.
- Ex. "a cleft in your chin instead of your foot,/ But no less a Devil for that"
- Literal appearance and figurative description of him as a Devil with a "cleft" hoof.
- Two successive phrases or clauses are parallel in syntax, but reverse the order of the analogous words.
- "The land was ours before we were the land's"
- "Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure"
A sudden, overwhelming insight or revelation that the character experiences.
Stream of consciousness
Used to replicate the thought process of a character, with little or no intervention by the narrator.
Stays the same and is not an individual in the work.
Multifaceted and subject to change and growth; inconsistencies like a human being.
A character who contrasts with the protagonist in ways that bring out certain of his/her moral, emotional, or intellectual qualities.
A third person narrator summarizes the words of a character.
A monologue delivered by a character who is alone on stage.
- A reference to the equivalent importance of the two clauses.
- Compound sentences linked by "and"
Links complex sentences and reflects the subordinate importance of the dependent clause.
- Presents ideas in the order of subject-verb-object and adds modifiers to amplify it.
- Sentence would be grammatically complete if it ended earlier.
- Creates a casual tone.
- Not complete in either syntax or sense until its end.
- Saves the essential phrase for last.
The intentional repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of successive lines, stanzas, sentences, or paragraphs.
Words or phrases that are parallel in order and syntax express opposite or contrasting meanings.
Two successive phrases or clauses are parallel in syntax , but reverse the order of the analogous words.
Depends primarily on verbal wit, particularly repartee among sophisticated.
A rapid-fire exchange of witty remarks in which each speaker tries to score against an opponent in a verbal fencing match.
Farce (Low Comedy)
Physical humor; fast-paced action; ridiculous caricatures; and verbal humor.
From ancient Greece and center on a highborn tragic hero who commits an irreversible error of judgment.
Full of ghosts, murders, schemes, and violence.
The hero is an average person with mundane issues (financial debt and martial trouble).
Comprised of a series of letters between characters.
A work that derives its effects from eschewing such standard features of the genre as coherent plot, established setting, and character development.
Incorporates into the narrative the process by which the author creates the work and the ways that the reader responds to it.
A missing unstressed syllable at the end of a trochaic or dactylic line.
An omniscient narrator who offers philosophical or moral commentary on the characters and the events he depicts.
Special form of apostrophe in which the poet addresses an appeal to a muse or a god to inspire the creative endeavor.
Collective term that describes the technical aspects of verse relating to rhythm, stress, and meter.
The system for indicating metrical patterns and analyzing their effects.
Comes at the start of the sestet in the Petrarchan sonnet and marks the beginning of the portion of the poem that focuses on commentary or resolution to a question or problem presented in the octave.
- In a metaphor, the literal subject.
- Ex. In "her room is a pig sty," the tenor is the room.
- In a metaphor, the part that conveys the comparison.
- Ex. In "her room is a pig sty," the sty is the vehicle.
Dialogue that is similar to the truth and plausible.
- A narrative or description that has a second meaning beneath the surface. Author's major interest is the ulterior meaning.
- Ex. Story about seven fat kine eaten by seven lean kine has an allegorical meaning that Egypt will have seven prosperous years and then seven years of famine.
A harsh, discordant, unpleasant-sounding arrangement of sounds.
A smooth, pleasant-sounding choice and arrangement of the sounds.
Basic unit used in the measurement of metrical verse. Usually contains one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables.
Describes the number of feet in a metrical line.
An interlocking rhyme sceme with the pattern aba bcb cdc, etc.
19 line fixed form made up of five tercets rhymed aba and a concluding quatrain rhymed abaa, with lines 1 and 3 of the first tercet serving as refrains in an alternating pattern through line 15 and then repeated as lines 18 and 19.
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