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Every discipline employs a special vocabulary; literary criticism is no exception. Literary criticism is based in part on the assumption that writing is a purposeful activity and that excellent writing resulting in works of literary merit is not merely a happy accident. During the year you will familiarize yourself with some of the terminology that is used in literary criticism, and you will analyze specific instances when an author has employed a literary device. You will be creating a glossary of literary devices, complete with your specific analysis of the effect of the device on the text as a whole. The specific devices you will need to use for your entries over the course of the year are discussed in more detail in a separate handout. To summarize: you must complete entries for the five principal tropes: •Metaphor •Simile •Metonymy •Personification •Synecdoche
You must also select devices from the list below for your remaining entries. Any device that you wish to use that is not included this list will need to be cleared by me first. •Alliteration •Allusion •Ambiguity •Anaphora •Apostrophe •Aside •Assonance •Antithesis •Asyndeton •Metaphysical Conceit •Connotation •Cacophony •Caesura •Consonance •Chiasmus •Denotation •Enjambment •Euphony •Flashback •Form (poetic form) •Hyperbole •Litotes •Meiosis •Motif •Foreshdowing •Imagery •Paradox •Irony (Situational, Verbal, Dramatic) •Simple Metaphor •Extended Metaphor •Malapropism •Onomatopoeia •Oxymoron •Paradox •Paralipsis •Periphrasis •Polysyndeton •Rhyme •Symbol •Synesthesia •Tragic Flaw •Zeugma Over the course of the semester you’ll be asked to complete a number of literary device entries. Any time you encounter a device from the above list, whether it is in your outside reading or it is in a text we are studying as a class, you can use that device for a glossary entry. You will eventually accumulate a total of 100 points worth of terms each semester if you want full credit. Guidelines •You may only submit two (2) entries per week •You are responsible for keeping all of your lit devices once they have been graded
AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson
Make certain you discuss it directly and are specific rather than general. edited. 3. if you are certain to include the Three C’s in your function discussion. and in the correct format in order to be graded •You will only be able to revise an entry once •Texts from your previous English classes are not acceptable •Plagiarized entries will result in a zero (0) for the entire semester literary device assignment The FUNCTION discussion is the most important part of your literary device. Also make sure you have correctly identified the device. This does not mean you need to summarize the entire plot of a novel. You would merely need to say “When John Grady Cole hears the short pop of a gun. When discussing the connection. if you were using an example from the third chapter of All the Pretty Horses you would not need to explain the John Grady had left his home in Texas and had found work in Mexico as a rancher. In other words. In other words. you will always find success. All writing should “flow” to some AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . etc. Every literary device function discussion needs to include: 1.Literary Device Glossary •You will turn all of your graded devices two weeks before the end of the semester •All entries must be typed. make certain that you address how this language device operates within the passage. it is also the most difficult (isn’t that just typical?).e. For example. etc. However. For example. and Belvins fails to get back on the truck…” 2..) when referring to the literary device. Connection: Discuss in clear and specific terms exactly how the literary device contributes to the passage/poem/novel as a whole. Concept: What is the specific device that you are addressing? Use it in the present tense and use the active voice (i. artistic or otherwise.. it is typical for students to say that a device gives a passage “flow. Context: This sets up the text portion you are about to discuss.. “This symbolizes the.” This is not a helpful comment unless that “flow” is connected to something specific in terms of the effect. how does the literary device reinforce and contribute to what is occurring in the larger context? Make sure you address the artistic effect when appropriate. Unfortunately. you need to BRIEFLY introduce the general circumstances in your example.
He leaned forward and moved his bishop and mated her in four moves” (133137). or whatever else is important in explaining how this device functions in this particular instance. or to a set of related symbols. character. . Remember that merely pointing out a literary device does not mean that you understand its effect on the passage as a whole. How does this particular device enhance what the writer is conveying? You may comment on theme. This game of chess. Format Term: Example: Function: Definition of the literary device selected Quotation. Example Symbol: In the simplest sense. including title. Although John Grady wins the first couple of games and seems to Example: Function: AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . page/line number Author’s purpose in employing this language resource at this point in the work. setting. a symbol is anything that stands for or represents something else beyond it—often an idea conventionally associated with it. followed by source. represents the greater chess game between these two competing characters. then you will be successful. This chess game between John Grady and Alejandra’s godmother symbolizes the competition that they are in for Alejandra herself. “Like him she was lefthanded or she played chess with her left hand .addressing what there is about the “flow” that the shapes the text is the key. You have to be specific about its function.Literary Device Glossary extent -. which takes place as John is trying to gain approval of his relationship with Alejandra. . If you are certain to include the Three C’s. The term symbolism refers to the use of symbols.
When he takes “her queen” (133) he is literally winning the chess match by taking the queen. the line number if it is a poem. remember to do the following: Always include the page number when your source is a novel. whom the godmother is determined to keep from suffering the same misfortunes she endured. The intellectual nature of the chess match also enhances the choice that Alejandra ultimately makes near the end of the novel: leaving John and opting instead for the security and wealth of her family. and the act/scene/line number if it is a play. General Guidelines My expectations are that you write with precision and depth of analysis. in the end it is the godmother who triumphs. and keep them in mind as you write your entries. This directly mirrors John Grady’s and the godmother’s lives: although John Grady wins Alejandra’s affections initially. The lack of dialogue between the characters during the match further reinforces the quiet competition they are engaging in. including citing your sources using MLA format. one that is not violent but is indeed fierce. discusses the term itself (concept) and then carefully discusses how the literary device specifically functions both in the passage and within the context of the novel as a whole (connection).” Alejandra.Literary Device Glossary be well on his way to achieving his goal. Citation: When you cite your quotes. Please note that the author first provides context for the discussion (context). in the end he loses her. 1. but he is also on a symbolic level attempting to take the godmother’s true “queen. You must include the author and title of the piece within your discussion. I also require that you adhere to standard guidelines for written English. AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . Please review the following notes. This choice reflects the cool and calculating logic of a chess match rather than the passions of the heart. a. The author is also careful to use the term in the active voice within the function discussion.
Connection—in mind when you write your function discussion. not at the beginning or the end of a quote. but not around the citation. Always imbed your quotes within your function discussion. Notice the correct citation. Only use ellipses when omitting words from the middle of a quote. do so by using brackets. Examples: This is what your example quote would look ilke. d. AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . This is how that same quote could be imbedded in the function discussion. If you need to change the case of a letter. Revisions: Please staple your original device to the back of the revision and write “Revision” on your new version. and put the period outside of the citation. Put quotation marks around the entire quote. At one point. 2. and the brackets around the letter with the case change “[T]he forest stood up spectrally in the moonlight” (95). 3. he observes that “the forest stood up spectrally in the moonlight” (95). making sure that the sentence into which you integrated your quote is grammatically correct. Submissions that do not discuss each of these areas will not receive full credit. The author (Conrad) and the title of the work (Heart of Darkness) would have already been mentioned in the discussion. Concept. The descriptions of nature often belie the sinister quality Marlow attributes to the natural world. Function Discussion: Remember to keep the “Three C’s” – Context.Literary Device Glossary b. c.
Conventions: I will not grade a device that does not cite the quote properly. Using Test From the Quote: Whenever possible. Submission Opportunities: There are a limited number of submission opportunities available. 6. Remember that in college it is precisely these types of long-term assignments that put the responsibility on you that will comprise most of your coursework. Furthermore. I will put a checkmark next to the line that contains the error and return it without a grade. This has the potential of helping your grade considerably. even if they are present. In order to receive credit In these instances. so you will need to take advantage of as many as you can. Grading Literary Device Submissions AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . you no longer need to submit literary devices for the remainder for the semester. You may submit only two literary devices plus any revisions per week. Point Totals: Remember that once you have achieved the necessary point total. 5. I want to once again stress exactly how significant this assignment is to your grade. or hindering it. so it carries quite a bit of weight as far as your grade is concerned. I will not note other errors. if I encounter more than one conventional error. 7. remember to use text from your example in your function discussion. It is in some ways the heard of our study of style analysis.Literary Device Glossary 4. you will need to fix the error(s) and resubmit the device as if it were a revision. It may help you achieve the elusive (and some say mythical) “6”.
1 for the concept. They must then staple the revision to the original. and submit them together. I will not read a device that has conventional errors or is cited improperly. It also puts more responsibility on the student to figure out what is missing. AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . creating a necessity for the student to take a more metacognitive approach to revision.Literary Device Glossary One of the goals of this grading approach is to provide feedback that is meaningful to your students without spending hours poring over each set of device submissions. 1 for the connection) Grading Rev = There was one (or more) error in citation or conventions. The Basics Each device is worth a possible 5 points broken down the following way: 1 point for the correct definition of the device 1 point for the example. If a student gets “Rev” at the top. Using a numeric grading system and telling students what the numbers mean ahead of time instead of proving written feedback makes the grading less time consuming for you. provided it is an example of the device 3 points for the function discussion (1 for the context. then that student knows that he or she must find and then fix the errors. highlight the changes on the revision.
but only 1 or 2 or the 3 points required in the function discussion were addressed. but the function discussion was not adequate. actions.Literary Device Glossary 0= The device or example was not correct. It is used to represent objects. This is different from a revision because it signals to the student hat the device and the example do not match. All the Pretty Horses AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . 3-4 = Device and example were correct. Example: “In the gray twilight those retching seemed to echo like the calls of some rude provisional species loosed upon that waste. A thing smirking deep in the eyes of grace itself like a gorgon in an autumn pool”(71). or that the definition is incorrect. thoughts. They need to find out what the problem is in order to fix it. Something imperfect and malformed lodged in the heart of being. McCarthy. 2 = Device and example were correct. They need to figure out which point(s) is/are missing and revise the submission. states of mind and any sensory or extra-sensory experience. feelings. 5 = Bravo! Imagery: Imagery is language that appeals to the five senses.
there lies the gorgon. The sounds seem to come from the “heart of being. At this point in the novel. This connects to the novel’s consistent exploration of the process of life and the role that sin plays. This sound is coming from these boys in the still of night – they are then linked to this “gorgon”. Even in the “eyes of grace itself.” and are hiding behind the innocent faces of the boys.Literary Device Glossary Function: McCarthy’s novel All the Pretty Horses explores the notion of sin. This progresses from John Grady’s loss of innocence to his ultimate revelation: the idea that understanding the nature of sin is necessary for AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . two young men have been out drinking heavily and are coping with the consequences. and this is yet another moment when they have “fallen” from a state of grace. spending time retching into a small pond. is nonetheless something that boys are not supposed to be doing at this age. The imagery describing the “retchings” of a “rude provisional species loosed upon that waste… like a gorgon” evoke the sinful nature of the boys’ actions. Here McCarthy subtly melds contemporary religious beliefs with a Greek myth to explore the concept of sin and humankind’s nature. there is that “thing smirking.” As a man (or in this case the boys) looks to graces for forgiveness of sings. though perhaps not a serious act of sin. Their innocence has already been tested numerous times up to this point. mocking all attempts at redemption with the mythical power of the gorgon turning the heart to stone and prolonging the cycle. The imagery used to describe this scene explores the notion of sin and reinforces a biblical connection that runs throughout the novel.” a place of purity and forgiveness. Drinking.
Literary Device Glossary enlightenment. AP English Literature and Composition | Johnson . His understanding of the role of sin as a part of his nature ultimately leads John to live with the fact that he too will sin.
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