AP English Literature Vocabulary Letters G-I

 *Genre: A sub-category of literature. Science-fiction and detective stories are genres of fiction. 

*Gothic, Gothic novel: Gothic is the sensibility derived from gothic novels. This form first showed up in the middle of the eighteenth century and had a hey-day of popularity for about sixty years. It hasn’t really ever gone away. The sensibility? Think mysterious gloomy castles perched high upon sheer cliffs. Paintings with sinister eyeballs that follow you around the room. Weird screams from the attic each night. Diaries with a final entry that traits off the page and reads something like, No, NO! IT COULDN’T BE!! 

*Hero's Journey:  Most protagonists go through the typical four steps of a journey (Innocence, Initiation, Chaos, Resolution). 

*Hubris: The excessive pride or ambition that leads to the main character’s downfall (another term from Aristotle’s discussion of tragedy). 

*Hyperbole: exaggeration or deliberate overstatement. 

*Imagery: a word or phrase that appeals to one or more of the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. 

*Implicit: To say or write something that suggest and implies but—gasp—never says it directly or clearly. “Meaning” is definitely present, but it’s in the imagery, or “between the lines.” 

*In medias res: Latin for “in the midst of things.” One of the conversations of epic poetry is that the action begins in medias res. For example, when The Iliad begins, the Trojan war has already been going on for seven years. 

*Interior Monologue: This is a term for novels and poetry, not dramatic literature. It refers to writing that records the mental talking that goes on inside a character’s head. It is related, but not identical to stream of consciousness. Interior monologue tends to be coherent, as though the character were actually talking. Stream of consciousness is looser and much more given to fleeting mental impressions. 

*Inversion: Switching the customary order of elements in a sentence or phrase. When done badly it can give a stilted, artificial, look-at-me-I’m poetry feel to the verse, but poets do it all the time. This type of messing with syntax is called poetic license. I’ll have one large pizza with all the fixin’s- presto chango instant poetry- A pizza large I’ll have, one with the fixin’s all. 

*Irony: One definition of irony is a statement that means the opposite of what it seems to mean, and while that isn’t a bad definition, it doesn’t get at the delicacy with which the authors on the AP test use irony. Simply saying the opposite of what one means is sarcasm. The hallmark of irony is an undertow of meaning, sliding against the literal meaning of the words. Jane Austin is famous for writing descriptions which seem perfectly pleasant, but to the sensitive reader have a deliciously mean snap to them. Irony insinuates. It whispers underneath the explicit statement, Do you understand what I really mean? Think of the way Marc Anthony says again and again of Brutus, “but he is an honorable man.” At first it doesn’t seem like much, but with each repetition the undertone of irony becomes ever more insistent. 

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