Lit Terms

  1. Allegory
    The presentation of an abstract idea through concrete means. Two Levels; an obvious surface level story and a deeper religious, political, or philosophical meaning. Often has characters named for the idea they represent.
  2. Allusion
    An indirect reference in a piece of literature, movie, song, etc. to a person, event, piece of literature, etc. that came before. Assumed the reader will understand the reference.
  3. Anachronism
    Something that appears out of its proper historical time period
  4. Antagonist
    The character pitted agains the protagonist. A mean or cruel character would be a villan. Does not have to be mean.
  5. Antihero
    A protagonist who does not exhibit the qualities of a traditional hero (nobility & bravery or positive, honest qualities)
  6. Apostophe
    When a literary character speaks directly to an inanimate object
  7. Archetype
    The original model from which something is developed or made. In literature, these things may come from previous stories and/or myths or from the "collective unconcious"
  8. Beat Generation
    • Literary movement in the late 1950's, characterized by:
    • - a rejection of social mores
    • - feeling of oppression by dominant culture
    • - advocacy of antiestablishment views
  9. Bildungsroman
    • A novel that recounts the development of an individual from childhood to maturity, to the point at which the protagonist recognizes his/her place in the world.
    • Coming of age.
  10. Canon
    Literature that appears in a variety of anthologies, etc. that would be included in what we would call ...
  11. Criticism
    In depth reflection on and analysis of a piece of literature
  12. Dynamic Character
    A character in a literary work who, over the course of the work, changes in some significant way
  13. Flat Character
    A character in a literary work who has a lack of depth of personality/character
  14. Foil
    A character who, through his contrast to the protagonist, serves to accentuate that character's personality traits/qualities
  15. Gothic Literature
    • Characteristics include:
    • - dramatically, violent and/or disturbing
    • - destructively passionate love
    • - grand but gloomy settings
  16. Harlem Renaissance
    A literary movement starting in the 1920's in predominantly African-American Harlem in NYC. Highlighted African-American culture for the first time in America
  17. Imagery
    The use of language to appeal to a reader's five senses to place him/her in the situation described
  18. Irony
    A situation when things do not turn out as expected
  19. Dramatic Irony
    What a character believes is true is known by audience to not be true
  20. Situational Irony
    When what occurs contradics a reader's or character's predictions
  21. Verbal Irony
    What is said is not ment (sarcasim)
  22. Magic Realism
    Used to describe literature that combines realistic and fantastic elements
  23. Modernism
    A movement that followed WWI, in which writers sought to experiment with new literary froms & styles
  24. Mood
    General feeling created in the reader by the work
  25. Motif
    An unifying element in a piece of literature.
  26. Naturalism
    Literary movements of the late 19th & early 20th centuries that assumes humans have little control over what happens
  27. Parallelism
    Away of emphasizing an idea through the use of gramatically similar constructions
  28. Pathos
    A quality in a work or a portion there of that makes the reader feel pity, sorry or tenderness
  29. Point of View
    The vantage point from which a narrative is told
  30. Postmodernism
    Literary movement that followed WWII, characterized by radically experimental works of literature. Often highlights the alienation of inidividuals and the meaningless of human existence.
  31. Protagonist
    The most important or leading character in a work
  32. Realism
    • Literary ideal characterized by:
    • - Accurate depiction of every day life in a given place or period
    • - Accuracy in portraying the speech and behavior of characters
  33. Static Character
    A character who, over the course of a literary work, does not change
  34. Stock Character
    A type of character that regularly appears in certain literary forms
  35. Symbolism
    Something that suggests, something larger than itself, something that represents something else
  36. Tone
    The attitude of the author toward the subject matter of a literary work
  37. Transcendentalism
    Belief that all human beings are innately divine, but they can discover higher knowledge (moral knowledge) without logic
  38. Unreliable Narrator
    A narrator who, for some reason, cannot or does not fully comprehend the world around him or whose information cannot be trusted
Card Set
Lit Terms
AP English Literary Terms