Ch 3: AP English: Literary Devices

About This Chapter

This chapter is designed to help you study literary devices as you prepare you for the AP English Literature exam. You can review a multitude of definitions and examples of literary devices, such as cliches, paradoxes, similes, and types of irony.

AP English: Literary Devices - Chapter Summary

Through the material in this chapter, you can strengthen your understanding of the literary devices that could appear on the AP English Literature exam. The chapter includes the definitions and examples for catharsis, allegory, consonance, assonance, and repetition. You can also see examples of irony and review types of narrators. After completing the chapter, you should be ready to:

  • Provide examples of various literary devices
  • Demonstrate understanding of understatement, litotes, symbolism, and imagery in literature
  • Distinguish and utilize tone vs. mood in prose
  • Identify types of humorous writing: satire, parody, or spoof
  • Understand the use of similes in literature
  • Explain literary motifs
  • Differentiate between synecdoche and metonymy
  • Recognize the difference between personification and apostrophe

The literary devices chapter includes brief and engaging video lessons for a quick review of literary devices. Professional instructors are available for any questions or clarification you may need. Other tools at your disposal in preparation for taking the AP English Literature exam are self-assessment quizzes, transcripts of video lessons, and flashcards. Don't forget to check your progress throughout the chapter and course using your Dashboard.

15 Lessons in Chapter 3: AP English: Literary Devices
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Literary Devices: Definition & Examples

1. Literary Devices: Definition & Examples

This lesson studies some of the more common literary devices found in literature. Devices studied include allusion, diction, epigraph, euphemism, foreshadowing, imagery, metaphor/simile, personification, point-of-view and structure.

Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

2. Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

Learn about cliches, paradoxes, and equivocations, and how they can weaken or strengthen certain types of writing. Explore examples of all three from literature and daily life.

Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

3. Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

Explore the simile and how, through comparison, it is used as a shorthand to say many things at once. Learn the difference between similes and metaphors, along with many examples of both.

Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

4. Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

Learn how point of view, or the angle from which a story is told, impacts the narrative voice of a work of literature. Explore, through examples, how point of view can be limited, objective, or omniscient.

Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples

5. Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples

Would you lend your ears for a moment (or at least your eyeballs)? This lesson will explain what synecdoche and metonymy mean and how to spot them in a piece of prose or poetry.

Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

6. Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

In this lesson, explore how writers use personification to give human characteristics to objects, ideas, and animals. Learn about apostrophe, or when characters speak to objects, ideas, and even imaginary people as if they were also characters.

Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

7. Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

Discover, once and for all, what irony is and is not. Explore three types of irony: verbal, situational and dramatic, and learn about some famous and everyday examples.

What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

8. What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

In this lesson, you will learn about how writers use themes in works of literature as a way to explore universal ideas like love and war. You will also explore motifs, or repeating objects and ideas, which can contribute to theme.

What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama

9. What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama

In this lesson, learn about catharsis, a purging of feelings that occurs when audiences have strong emotional reactions to a work of literature. Explore examples of literary works which lead to catharsis, including tragedies.

Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

10. Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

Learn about allegories and how stories can be used to deliver messages, lessons or even commentaries on big concepts and institutions. Explore how allegories range from straightforward to heavily-veiled and subtle.

Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples

11. Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson, explore the different ways authors repeat consonant and vowel sounds in their literary works. Learn about how writers use repeated words and phrases with well-known examples.

Understatement & Litotes: Differences, Definitions & Examples

12. Understatement & Litotes: Differences, Definitions & Examples

In this lesson, explore the use of understatement as a way to draw attention to a specific quality or to add humor. Learn about litotes, a specific form of understatement, and discover examples from literature.

Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

13. Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson you will learn how poets and authors use symbolism in their writing to make it more meaningful and interesting. Explore how descriptive writing called imagery appeals to the senses, adding to works of literature.

Tone vs. Mood: Interpreting Meaning In Prose

14. Tone vs. Mood: Interpreting Meaning In Prose

In this lesson, learn the difference between the tone and the mood of a piece of prose. Explore examples of how tone and mood are conveyed by authors through word choice and telling details.

Satire, Parody, or Spoof: Types of Humorous Writing

15. Satire, Parody, or Spoof: Types of Humorous Writing

Learn about how writers use satire, parody and spoof to make their readers laugh and think. Explore how these forms mock the conventions of specific literary works and genres.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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