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AP Literary Terms review. Henderson. SYNTAX. Anaphora: “Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.” Epistrophe : “government of the people, by the people, for the people”

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  • Anaphora: “Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.”
  • Epistrophe: “government of the people, by the people, for the people”
  • Asyndeton: “He was a bag of bones, a floppy doll, a broken stick, a maniac.”
  • Polysyndeton: see next slide for my favorite example. 


    • Ah, love, let us be trueTo one another! for the world, which seemsTo lie before us like a land of dreams,So various, so beautiful, so new,Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;And we are here as on a darkling plainSwept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,Where ignorant armies clash by night.
  • Chiasmus: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
literary devices
  • Antithesis: “Fair is foul and foul is fair.”
    • “For contemplation he and valor formed,/ For softness she and sweet attractive grace;/ He for God only, she for God in him.”
  • Allegory vs. character allegory: a) The Joads’ plight as an allegory for Exodus; b) in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian (Everyman) encounters such opposition as Mr. Wordliness and finds himself in the Slough of Despond but finally makes it to the Celestial City.

Apostrophe: “Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes whom envy hath immured within your walls.”

    • “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.”
  • Assonance: “Sweet dreams are made of these/ who am I to disagree?”
  • Consonance: “Flimflarmfrarim filth.” (Eddie Murphy doing his Bill Cosby impression)
    • “I wonder as I wander”

Alliteration: “Landscape lover, lord of language.”

  • Metonymy: “The White House has not yet released a statement.”
  • Synecdoche: “All hands on deck!”
  • Simile (epic/Homeric): "Just as a hunter urges on his white-fanged hounds, to chase a lion or a wild boar, that's how Hector, son of Priam, like that man-destroyer Ares, urged his great-hearted Trojans on against Ajaeans."

Litotes: “It was no mean feat to finish my term paper in two nights.”

  • Paradox: “The truest poetry is the most feigning.”
  • Conceit: “This flea is you and I, and this/ Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.”
  • Metaphor (direct vs. indirect): a) You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. b) “In the middle of the night/ I go walking in my sleep/ from the mountains of faith/ to the river so deep”
  • Aristotelian tragic hero:
    • Of noble birth; larger than life
    • Essentially good, but exhibits a fatal flaw (hamartia)
    • Possesses hubris
    • Agent of his own downfall
    • Has a moment of realization (epiphany, anagnorisis)
    • Lives and suffers
  • Classical (Shakespearean hero): adheres to the above criteria, but often dies

Romantic (Byronic) hero:

    • Larger than life
    • Charismatic
    • Possesses an air of the mysterious or mystical
    • Saves the day! (For the ladies)
    • Embodies freedom, idealism, adventure (related to the Child of Nature)
    • Often exists outside the law: Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre)

Modern hero:

    • Everyman
    • Exhibits human weaknesses
    • Caught in the ironies of the human condition
    • Struggles for insight
    • Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman), Tom Joad (Angry Grapes)

Hemingway hero:

    • Brave, enduring
    • Super-masculine
    • Maintains a sense of humor (often ironic)
    • Exhibits grace under pressure
    • Jake Barnes!
  • Antihero: notably lacks heroic qualities (Randall McMurphy, Holden Caulfield, Home Simpson)