AP Rhetorical Devices
AnecdoteA brief , A brief story or tale told by a character in a piece of literature
PerspectiveA characters view of the situation or events in the story
AphorismA concise statement designed to make a point or illustrate a commonly held belief. “Early to bed and early to rise/Make a man health, wealthy, and wise.”
ContradictionA direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency
ApostropheA figure of speech in which a person, thing or abstract quality is addressed as if present; for example the invocation to the muses usually found in epic poetry
OxymoronA figure of speech that combines two apparently contradictory elements, as in “jumbo shrimp” or “deafening silence”
AllusionA figure of speech which makes brief, even casual reference to a historical or literary figure, event, or object of which the allusion consists.
SyllogismA form of deduction. An extremely subtle, sophisticated or deceptive argument.
SatireA literary style used to make fun of or ridicule an idea or human vice or weakness
BildungsromanA novel or story whose theme is the moral or psychological growth of the main character.
DevicesA particular word pattern or combination of words used in a literary work to evoke a desired effect or arouse a desired reaction in the reader
FoilA person or a thing that makes another seem better by contrast
EpistolaryA piece of literature contained in or carried on by letters
EpitaphA piece of writing in praise of a deceased person
ParodyA satirical imitation of a work of art for purpose of ridiculing its style or subject.
SarcasmA sharp caustic remark. A form of verbal irony in which apparent praise is actually bitterly or harshly critical. For example, a coach saying to a player who misses the ball, “Nice catch.”
ExpletiveA single word or short phrase intended to emphasize surrounding words. Commonly separated by commas; e.g in fact, of course, after all, certainly.
IronyA contrast between appearances and reality -usually one in which reality is the opposite from what it seems ; when one thing is expected to happen or be and the opposite occurs .
EulogyA speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially honoring the dead
ParadoxA statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
EpiphanyA sudden or intuitive insight or perception into the reality or essential meaning of something usually brought on by a simple or common occurrence or experience
OnomatopoeiaA word that imitates the sound it represents
DictionAn authors choice of words to convey a tone or effect
UtopiaA imaginary place of ideal perfection. The opposite of a dystopia. -An imaginary place where people live dehumanized, often fearful lives.
HyperboleA figure of speech using dilibrate exaggeration or overstatement.
Antagonist– a character or force in conflict with the protagonist (main character)
AnalogyA comparison between two different things which are similar in some way
InductiveConclusion or type of reasoning whereby observation or information about a part of a class is applied to the class as a whole. Contrast with deductive.
NostalgiaDesire to return in thought or fact to a former time
ChiasmusA figure of speech by which the order of the terms in the first two parallel clauses is reversed in the second.”Has the Church failed mankind, or has mankind failed the Church?”–T. S. Eliot,
ThesisFocus statement of an essay; premise statement upon which the point of view or discussion in the essay is based. Antithesis-The juxtaposition of sharply contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words or phrases.
LitoteA form of understatement in which the negative of the contrary is used to achieve emphasis or intensity. For example, ” She is not a bad cook.” Or “No man ever followed his genius until it misled him.” Thoreau Doppelganger Ghostly counterpart of a living person or an alter ego
ZeugmaGrammatically correct linkage of one subject with two or more verbs or verb with two or more direct object. the linking shows a relationship between ideas more clearly.
EthosIn dramatic literature, the moral element that determines a characters actions, rather than thought or emotion.
PropagandaInformation or rumors deliberately spread to help or harm a person, group, or institution.
DidacticIntended for teaching or to teach a moral lesson.
Formal LanguageLanguage that is lofty, dignified, or impersonal
AllegoryA narrative, either in verse or prose, in which character, action, and sometimes setting represent abstract concepts apart from the literal meaning of the story
AbstractNot related to the concrete properties of an object; pertaining to ideas, concepts, or qualities, as oppsed to physical attributes.
In medias resOpening a story in the middle of the action, requiring filling in past details by exposition or flashbacks.
ColloquialOrdinary language; the vernacular. For Example, depending on where in the United States you live, a sand which is called a sub, a grinder, or a hero.
IsocolonParallel structure in which the parallel elements are similar not only in grammatical structure, but also in length. For Example, An envious heart makes a treacherous ear”(Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston)
AestheticPertaining to the vale of art for its own sake or for form
JuxtapositionPlacing of two items side by side to create a certain effect, reveal an attitude, or accomplish some other purpose
ElegyPoem or prose lamenting the death of a particular person. Perhaps the most elegy is Thomas Greys Poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”
AntiheroProtagonist of a literary work who does not embody the traditional qualities of a hero (e.g., honor, bravery, kindness, intelligence); for example, the protagonist created by Byron in Don Juan and Childe Harold, and the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Tom Stoppards Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
CatharsisPurification or cleansing of the spirit through the emotions of pity and terror as a witness to a tragedy
EpigraphA quotation or aphorism at the beginning of a literary work suggestive of theme.
MotifA recurrent device, formula, or situation that often serves as a signal for the appearance of a character or event
ParallelismRecurrent syntactical similarity. In this structural arrangement, several parts of a sentence or several sentences are developed and phrased similarly to show that the ideas in the parts or sentences are equal in importance.It also adds balance, rhythm, and clarity to the sentence. For Example, “I have always searched for, but never found the perfect painting for that wall.”
AnaphoraRegular repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases or clauses. For example: We shall fight in the tranches. We shall fight on the oceans. We shall fight in the sky.
AnadiplosisRepetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause. For Example,” The crime was common, common be the pain.”(Alexander Pope)
Appeals to:rhetorical arguments in which the speaker: either claims to be an expert or relies on information provided by experts (appeals to authority), attempts to affect the listeners personal feelings (appeal to emotion) or attempts to persuade the listener through use of deductive reasoning (appeal to logic)