AP English Notes

Rhetorical Terms - Trope

allegory - An extended metaphor.
Ex 1: "During the time I have voyaged on this ship, I have avoided the cabin; rather, I have remained on deck, battered by wind and rain, but able to see moonlight…"
Ex 2: "This is a valley of ashes--a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take forms of houses and...of men..." (Fitzgerald 27).

allusion - A reference in a written or spoken text to another text or to some particular body of knowledge.
Ex 1: "I doubt if Phaethon feared more -- that time/ he dropped the sun-reins of his father's chariot/ and burned the streak of sky we see today" (Dante's Inferno).
Ex 2: "Have you read 'The rise of the Coloured Empires' by this man Goddard?" (Fitzgerald 17).

anastrophe - Inversion or reversal of the usual order of words.
Ex: Echoed the hills.

anthimeria - The substitution of one part of speech for another.
Ex: The thunder would not peace at my bidding.

antithesis - The juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas, often in parallel structure.
Ex 1: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." (Barry Goldwater)
Ex 2: "…found her lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress--and as drunk as a monkey" (Fitzgerald 81).

flat character - A figure readily identifiable by memorable traits but not fully developed.
Ex: Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.

format - The structural elements that constitute the presentation of a written text.
Ex: The Modern Language Association (MLA) has created a format for research papers.

freewriting - Intuitive writing strategy for generation of ideas by writing without stopping.
Ex: In English 1, I performed freewriting for two short pieces.

functional part - A part of a text classified according to its function.
Ex: The introduction.

hyperbole - An exaggeration for effect.
Ex 1: "I told you a billion times not to exaggerate."
Ex 2: "…we scattered light through half Astoria…" (Fitzgerald 72).

invention - The art of generating material for a text; the first of the five traditional canons of rhetoric.
Ex: I use brainstorming before an essay as invention.

journal - A text in which writers produce informal compositions that help them "think on paper" about topics and writing projects.
Ex: I had a journal last year for Honors English in which I recorded my thoughts on various novels I read.

journaling - The process of writing in a journal.
Ex: I wrote a journal last year for Honors English on the books I read.

loose sentence - A sentence that adds modifying elements after the subject, verb, and complement.
Ex: "Bells rang, filling the air with their clangor, startling pigeons into flight from every belfry, bringing people into the streets to hear the news."

meiosis - Representation of a thing as less than it really is to compel greater esteem for it.
Ex: Calling an act of arson a prank.

metaphor - An implied comparison that does not use the word like or as.
Ex: "No man is an island" (Donne).

oxymoron - Juxtaposed words with seemingly contradictory meanings.
Ex: "O miserable abundance! O beggarly riches!" (Donne).

paralipsis - Irony in which one proposes to pass over a matter, but subtly reveals it.
Ex: "She is talented, not to mention rich."

peroration - In ancient Roman oratory, the part of a speech in which the speaker would draw together the entire argument and include material designed to compel the audience to think or act in a way consonant with the central argument.
Ex: In Julius Caesar's speech, the peroration came at the end.

protagonist - The major character in a piece of literature; the figure in the narrative whose interests the reader is most concerned about and sympathetic toward.
Ex: Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.

repretoire - A set of assumptions, skills, facts, and experience that a reader brings to a text to make meaning.

setting - The context--including time and place--of a narrative.
Ex: The area surround New York City in the 1920s is the setting of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

sharing - A system calling for writers to read or listen to one another's work and suggest ways to improve it.
Ex: In AP US History, we peer reviewed each other's take-home DBQs.

simile - A type of comparison that uses the word like or as.
Ex: "There was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away" (Fitzgerald 2).

syllogism - Logical reasoning from inarguable premises.
Ex: All mortals die. All humans are mortal. All humans die.

synecdoche - A part of something used to refer to the whole.
Ex: "The hired hands are not doing their jobs."

syntax - The order of words in a sentence.
Ex: "The dog ran" not "The ran dog."

theme - The message conveyed by a literary work.
Ex: The decline of the American dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

tone - The writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject matter.
Ex: Light-hearted in the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

understatement - Deliberate playing down of a situation in order to make a point.
Ex: "I think there's a problem between Shias and Sunnis."

unity - The sense that a text is, appropriately, about only one subject and achieves one major purpose or effect.
Ex: Pride by Dagoberto Gilb

unreliable narrator - An untrustworthy or naïve commentator on events and characters in a story.
Ex: The people at Gatsby's parties like Jordan who spread rumors about Gatsby's past in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

verisimilitude - The quality of a text that reflects the truth of actual experience.
Ex: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon has medium verisimilitude.

zeugma - A trope in which one word, usually a noun or the main verb, governs two other words not related in meaning.
Ex: He governs his will and his kingdom.

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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Rhetorical Terms - Trope" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2024. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/english/rhetorical-terms/trope/>.