AP English Literature and Composition Exam: Terms and Definitions

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Apostrophe
An address to someone not present, or to a personified object or idea
Caricature
A portrait that exaggerates a facet of personality
Conceit
Refers to a startiling or unusual metaphor
Controlling image
An image dominates and shapes an entire work
Couplet
A pair of lines that end in rhyme
Diction
The author’s choice of words
Syntax
Refers to the ordering and structuring of the words
Dramatic Irony
When the audience knows something that the characters in the drama do not
Enjambment
The continuation of a syntactic unit beyond a line, couplet, or stanza
Foreshadowing
An event or statement in a narrative that suggests a larger event that comes later
Hyperbole
Exaggeration or deliberate overstatement
Irony
A statement that means the opposite of what it seems to mean
Metaphor
A comparison or analogy that states one thing is another
Simile
A comparison of one thing to another by using like or as
Objectivity
An impersonal or outside view of events
Subjectivity
Interior or personal view of a single observer
Omniscient Narrator
A third person narrator who sees into each character’s mind and understands all the action going on
Opposition
A pair of elements that contrast sharply
Paradox
A situation or statement that seems to contradict itself
Personification
Giving an inanimate object human qualities or form
Protagonist
The main character of a novel or play
Satire
Exposes common character flaws to the cold light of humor
Stanza
A group of lines in a verse
Symbolism
A device in literature where an object represents and idea
Theme
The central idea of a work
Categories: English Literature