AP Thoughts and Terms

  • “In reading exam papers written by misled students, of both sexes, about this or that author, I have often come across such phrases — probably recollections from more tender years of schooling — as ‘his style is simple’ or ‘his style is clear and simple’ or ‘his style is beautiful and simple’ or ‘his style is quite beautiful and simple.’ But remember that ‘simplicity’ is buncombe. No major writer is simple. The Saturday Evening Post is simple. Journalese is simple. Upton Lewis is simple. Mom is simple. Digests are simple. Damnation is simple. But Tolstoys and Melvilles are not simple..."

    -Nabokov, Lectures on Russian Literature



    General Literary Terms

    allegory, allusion, anachronism, arete, bildungsroman, canon, characterization, chiasmus, close reading, conceit, diction, epiphany, epistolary novel, fable, fabliaux, frame narrative, genre, irony, leit-motif, metafiction, mood, motif, novel, novella, poetry, prose, satire, tone, verisimilitude, verse   

    Elements of Fiction

    character, climax, conflict, denouement, dialogue, dynamic character, foil, narration, plot, point of view, suspense, tension, unity, unreliable narrator  

    Poetic Terms

    alexandrine, alliteration, anapest, apostrophe, assonance, ballad, blank verse, caesura, canticle, canto, carpe diem, consonance, contrapasso, couplet, dactyll, elegy, end rhyme, english sonnet, enjambment, epic, epic simile, free verse, half rhyme, heroic couplet, imagery, in medias res, internal rhyme, lyric, metaphysical, meter, ode, pastoral, pathetic fallacy, personification, prosody, quatrain, rhyme, slant rhyme, sonnet, sprung rhythm, stanza, terza rima, verse   

    Drama Lingo

    blank verse, catastrophe, catharsis, chorus, comedy, deus ex machina, dialogue, drama, hamartia, hubris, metadrama, miasma, mimesis, monologue, peripeteia, stasimon, strophe, tragedy, tragic flaw, tragic hero  

    Rhetorical Devices

    a priori, anadiplosis, anaphora, antithesis, apophasis, asyndeton, hyperbole, parallelism, parataxis, pathos, polysyndeton, procatalepsis, stychomythia, synesthesia

    Figures of Speech

    catachresis, euphemism, idiom, metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron, paradox, personification, simile, synecdoche, synesthesia