AP Rhetorical Devices List
A brief story or tale told by a character in a piece of literature A character's view of the situation or events in the story
A concise statement designed to make a point or illustrate a commonly held belief. The writings of Benjamin Franklin contain many aphorisms, such as "Early to bed and early to rise/Make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
A direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency
A 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. Oxymoron
A figure of speech that combines two apparently contradictory elements, as in "jumbo shrimp" or "deafening silence."
—A figure of speech which makes brief, even casual reference to a historical or literary figure, event, or object to create a resonance in the reader or to apply a symbolic meaning to the character or object of which the allusion consists. For example, in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, the surname of the protagonist, George Milton, is an allusion to John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, since by the end of the novel, George has lost the dream of having a little ranch of his own to share with his friend Lennie. Syllogism
A form of deduction. An extremely subtle, sophisticated, or deceptive argument Satire
A literary style used to make fun of or ridicule an idea or human vice or weakness Bildungsroman A novel or story whose theme is the moral or psychological growth of the main character. Devices
A 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
A person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast Epistolary
A piece of literature contained in or carried on by letters
A piece of writing in praise of a deceased person
A satirical imitation of a work of art for purpose of ridiculing its style or subject. Delayed sentence A sentence that withholds its main idea until the end. For example: Just as he bent to tie his shoe, a car hit him.
A 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."
A single word or short phrase intended to emphasize surrounding words. Commonly, expletives are set off by commas. Examples: in fact, of course, after all, certainly Irony
A situation or statement characterized by significant difference between what is expected or understood and what actually happens or is meant. Irony is frequently humorous, and can be sarcastic when using words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean Eulogy
A speech or writing in praise of a person or thing; an oration in honor of a deceased person
A statement that seems contradictory, but is actually true.
A 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 Onomatopoeia A word capturing or approximating the sound of what it describes, such as buzz or hiss. Diction
An author's choice of words to convey a tone or effect
An imaginary place of ideal perfection. The opposite of a dystopia. —An imaginary place where people live dehumanized, often fearful lives.
An overstatement characterized by exaggerated language
Deus ex machina As in Greek theater, use of an artificial device or contrived solution to solve a difficult situation, usually introduced suddenly and unexpectedly
Character or force in a literary work that opposes the main character, or protagonist Analogy
Comparison of two things that are alike in some respects. Metaphors and similes are both types of analogy
Conclusion or type of reasoning whereby observation...
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