AP English Literature and Composition
3-C’s, Rhetorical Journal, Poetry Annotation, Dialectical
AP ENGLISH STUDY GUIDE
This packet contains all the information
required for the assignments required in
your Final Portfolio. It gives instruction and
examples for assignments you will be
expected to do. In addition, it provides the
terms you will be accountable to know
(related to the Literary and Rhetorical
Devices), and a schedule for when they
have to be finished.
Keep this journal in your portfolio. If you
need a working copy to carry with you, feel
free to photocopy the material, but you will
need a clean copy for your Final Portfolio,
inasmuch as you will frequently need help
with terminology, definitions, annotation,
Below you will find a list of 84 Terms for which you must create study cards.
Accompanying the terms is a schedule for their completion (you will have four weeks before we
study poetry: 4/84 = 21 per week). Though they will not be collected until the end of the four
weeks, some terms may wind up on quizzes.
Of primary importance: KNOWING the terms is the FIRST STEP. The AP Exam does
not ask for definitions; they expect students to see the devices in context. Therefore, your cards
must follow a certain pattern:
1) SIDE 1 – Term
2) SIDE 2 –
b. Sentence: using device in context
Italian sonnet (aka
anapest , anapestic
approximate rhyme (see
English sonnet aka
run-on line (enjambment)
(approximate or near
Great writing and excellent reading come from an understanding of syntax. Syntax is created out of different literary
structures listed below. Though you will not be required to know the definitions of each of these terms (they will not do you much
good in life), recognizing a difference in sentence pattern can put you way ahead for the AP Exam.
Like with literary devices, you will have a Rhetorical Journal (Unit 2) wherein you will be asked to spot different rhetorical
devices in poetry and write a brief journal entry in the following pattern:
Quotation with Citation
Tell the impact this device has on the poem/reader at large
Adapted and excerpted from Edward P. J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors’ Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. Oxford
University Press. ISBN: 0195115422.
Schemes of Construction
1) Schemes of Balance
Parallelism- similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses. This basic principle of grammar and
rhetoric demands that equivalent things be set forth in coordinate grammatical structures: nouns with nouns, infinitives with
infinitives, and adverb clauses with adverb clauses.
“…for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually
pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”—The Declaration of Independence
“ …the love of liberty, jury trial, the writ of habeus corpus, and all the blessings of free government….”—John
Randolph of Roanoke, “Speech on the Greek Cause.
“So Janey waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time.”—Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes
Were Watching God
“It will be long before our larger life interprets itself in such imagination as Hawthorne’s, such wisdom as
Emerson’s, such poetry as Longfellow’s, such prophesy as Whittier’s, such grace as Holmes’s, such humor
and humanity as Lowell’s.”—William Dean Howells, Literary Friends and Acquaintance
Isocolon is a scheme of parallel structure which occurs when the parallel elements are similar not only in grammatical structure but
also in length (number of words or even number of syllables). This is very effective, but a little goes a long way.
“His purpose was to impress the ignorant, to perplex the dubious, and to confound the scrupulous.”
“An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.”—Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Antithesis – the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, often in parallel structure. The contrast may be in words or in ideas or both.
When used well, antithesis can be very effective, even witty.
“ What if I am rich, and another is poor—strong, and he is weak—intelligent, and he is benighted—elevated,
and he is depraved? Have we not one Father? Hath not one God created us?”—William Lloyd Garrison, “No
Compromise with Slavery”
“Your forefathers crossed the great water and landed on this island. Their numbers were small. They found
friends and not enemies. They told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men, and had
come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat. We took pity on them, granted their request;
and they sat down amongst us. We gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return.”—Red Jacket,
Schemes of unusual or inverted word order
Anastrophe- inversion of the natural or usual word order. This deviation can emphasize a point or it can just sound awkward. It is
most effective if the author rarely writes awkwardly, because when set among well-structured sentences it emphasizes the inverted
“As the saint of old sweetly sang, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord;” so ought
we to be glad when any opportunity of going good is presented to us.” –Cotton Mather “The Reward of Well-Doing”
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” –John F. Kennedy, Inaugural
Parenthesis – insertion of some verbal unit in a position that interrupts the normal syntactical flow of the sentence. One obvious
way to use parenthesis is to use the punctuation marks (parentheses). However, there are other ways to insert a comment into a
sentence. One might use commas, or dashes, for example. The parenthetical remark, however, is off on a tangent, cut off from the
thrust of the sentence and grammatically unrelated to the sentence.
“Those two spots are among the darkest of our whole civilization—pardon me, our whole culture (an
important distinction, I’ve heard) which might sound like a hoax, or a contradiction, but that (by contradiction, I
mean) is how the world moves: not like an arrow, but a boomerang.” –Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
“And they went further and further from her, being attached to her by a thin thread (since they had lunched
with her) which would stretch and stretch, get thinner and thinner as they walked across London; as if one’s
friends were attached to one’s body, after lunching with them, by a thin thread, which (as she dozed there)
became hazy with the sound of bells, striking the hour or ringing to service, as a single spider’s thread is
blotted with rain-drops, and burdened, sags down. So she slept” .—Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Apposition – placing side by side two coordinate elements, the second of which serves as an explanation or modification of the first.
In grammar, this is the appositive or verbal cluster.
“The mountain was the earth, her home.”—Rudolfo Anaya, Alburquerque
“Here was the source of the mistaken strategy –the reason why activists could so easily ignore class and could
consider race alone a sufficient measure of social oppression”.—Richard Rodriguez, The Hunger of Memory
Schemes of Omission
Ellipsis – deliberate omission of a word or of words which are readily implied by the context. While this can make clear, economical
sentences; if the understood words are grammatically incompatible, the resulting sentence may be awkward.
“So singularly clear was the water that when it was only twenty or thirty feet deep the bottom seemed floating
on the air! Yes, where it was even eighty feet deep. Every little pebble was distinct, every speckled trout,
every hand’s breadth of sand.” — Mark Twain, Roughing It
“And he to England shall along with you.” –Shakespeare, Hamlet III,iii
Asyndeton – deliberate omission of conjunctions between a series of related clauses. The effect of this device is to produce a
hurried rhythm in the sentence.
a. “I came, I saw, I conquered.”—Julius Caesar
b. “They may have it in well doing, they have it in learning, they may have it even in criticism.” –Matthew Arnold
Polysyndeton – deliberate use of many conjunctions. The effect of polysyndeton is to slow down the rhythm of the sentence.
“I said, “Who killed him?” and he said, “I don’t know who killed him but he’s dead all right,” and it was dark and there
was water standing in the street and no lights and windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down
and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Key and she
was all right only she was full of water.”—Ernest Hemingway, “After the Storm”
“On and on she went, across Piccadilly, and up Regent Street, ahead of him, her cloak, her gloves, her shoulders
combining with the fringes and the laces and the feather boas in the windows to make the spirit of finery and whimsy
which dwindled out of the shops on to the pavement, as the light of a lamp goes wavering at night over hedges in the
darkness.”—Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Schemes of Repetition
Alliteration – repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or more adjacent words. Used sparingly, alliteration provides
emphasis. Overused, it sounds silly.
“Already American vessels has been searched, seized, and sank.”—John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage
“It was the meanest moment of eternity”.—Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Assonance – the repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of
“Whales in the wake like capes and Alps/ Quaked the sick sea and snouted deep”. –Dylan Thomas, “Ballad of the
Long Legged Bait”
“Refresh your zest for living.”—advertisement for French Line Ships
Anaphora – repetition of the same word or groups of words at the beginnings of successive clauses. This device produces a strong
emotional effect, especially in speech. It also establishes a marked change in rhythm.
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the
streets, we shall fight in the hills.”—Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons, 6/4/40
“Why should white people be running all the stores in our community? Why should white people be running
the banks of our community? Why should the economy of our community be in the hands of the white man?
Epistrophe – repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses. Like anaphora, epistrophe produces
a strong rhythm and emphasis.
“But to all of those who would be tempted by weakness, let us leave no doubt that we will be as strong as we
need to be for as long as we need to be.” Richard Nixon, First Inaugural Address
“When we first came we were very many and you were very few. Now you are many and we are getting very
Epanalepsis – repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the beginning of the clause. Like other schemes of
repetition, epanalepsis often produces or expresses strong emotion.
Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer’d blows:/ Strength match’d with strength, and power
confronted power.—William Shakespeare, King John
Anadiplosis – repetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause.
“The crime was common, common be the pain”.—Alexander Pope, “Eloise to Abelard”
“Aboard my ship, excellent performance is standard. Standard performance is sub-standard. Sub-standard
performance is not permitted to exist.”—Captain Queeg, Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny
“Trees and buildings rose and fell against a pale-blue clouded sky, beech changed to elm, and elm to fir, and fir to
stone; a world like lead upon a hot fire, bubbled into varying shapes, now like a flame, now like a leaf of clover.” -Graham Greene, Orient Express
Climax – arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance
produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has
been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.”—St. Paul, Romans
Antimetabole – repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.
“One should eat to live, not live to eat.”—Moliere, L’Avare
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”—John F. Kennedy, Inaugural
“The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his
guilt.”—Martin Luther King, Jr., from a speech delivered in 1966
“The truth is the light and light is the truth.” –Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Chiasmus (the “criss-cross”) – reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses. Chiasmus is similar to
antimetabole in that it too involves a reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses, but it is unlike
antimetabole in that it does not involve a repetition of words. Both chiasmus and antimetabole can be used to reinforce antithesis.
Exalts his enemies, his friends destroys.—John Dryden, “Absalom and Achitophel”
Polyptoton – repetition of words derived from the same root.
“But in this desert country they may see the land being rendered useless by overuse” –Joseph Wood
Krutch, The Voice of the Desert
“We would like to contain the uncontainable future in a glass.”—Loren Eiseley, from an article in Harper’s,
- Tropes – Common Devices
Metaphor – implied comparison between two things of unlike nature
“The symbol of all our aspirations, one of the student leaders called her: the fruit of our struggle.” –John Simpson,
“A breeze blew through the room, blue curtains in at one end and out the other…twisting them up toward the frosted
wedding-cake of a ceiling, and the rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it…. –F. Scott Fitzgerald,
The Great Gatsby
Simile – explicit comparison between two things of unlike nature
“The night is bleeding like a cut.” –Bono
“Ah my!” said Eustacia, with a laugh which unclosed her lips so that the sun shone into her mouth as into a tulip and
lent it a similar scarlet fire.”–Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native
Synecdoche – figure of speech in which a part stands for the whole
The British crown has been plagued by scandal.
There is no word from the Pentagon on the new rumors from Afghanistan.
Metonymy – substitution of some attributive or suggestive word for what is actually meant
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” –Winston Churchill, 1940
“In Europe, we gave the cold shoulder to De Gaulle, and now he gives the warm hand to Mao Tse-tung.” –Richard
Antanaclasis (a type of pun)– repetition of a word in two different senses
“Your argument is sound, nothing but sound.” –Benjamin Franklin
“If we don’t hand together, we’ll hang separately.” –Benjamin Franklin
Paronomasia (a type of pun) – use of words alike in sound but different in meaning
“Ask for me tomorrow and you will find me a grave man.” –William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
“The Bustle: A Deceitful Seatful.” –Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Syllepsis (a type of pun) – use of a word understood differently in relation to two or more other words, which it modifies or governs
“There is a certain type of woman who’d rather press grapes than clothes.” –Advertisement for Peck & Peck
“The ink, like our pig, keeps running out of the pen.” –Student paper
Anthimeria – the substitution of one part of speech for another
a. “I’ll unhair thy head.” –William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
b. “Me, dictionarying heavily, ‘Where was the one they were watching?’” –Ernest Hemingway, The Green Hills of Africa
Periphrasis (autonomasia) – substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name or of a proper name for a quality
associated with the name
“They do not escape Jim Crow; they merely encounter another, not less deadly variety.”–James Baldwin,
Nobody Knows My Name
“In his later years, he became in fact the most scarifying of his own creatures: a Quixote of the Cotswolds…”
Time, referring to Evelyn Waugh
Personification (prosopesis) – investing abstractions or inanimate objects with human qualities
“The night comes crawling in on all fours.” –David Lowery
“And indeed there will be time/ For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,/Rubbings its back upon the window
panes.” –T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Hyperbole – the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.
“It rained for four years, eleven months, and two days.” —Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
“We walked along a road in Cumberland and stooped, because the sky hung so low.” —Thomas Wolfe, Look
Litotes – deliberate use of understatement
“Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her appearance for the
worse.”—Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub
Rhetorical question – asking a question, not for the purpose of eliciting an answer but for the purpose of asserting or denying
“Isn’t it interesting that this person to whom you set on your knees in your most private sessions at night and
you pray, doesn’t even look like you?” –Malcolm X
“Wasn’t the cult of James a revealing symbol and symbol of an age and society which wanted to dwell like
him in some false world or false art and false culture?” –Maxwell Geismar, Henry James and His Cult
“You say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you
white people differ so much about it?” –Red Jacket, 1805 speech
Irony – use of a word in such a way as to convey a meaning opposite to the literal meaning of the word
“This plan means that one generation pays for another. Now that’s just dandy.” –Huey P. Long
“By Spring, if God was good, all the proud privileges of trench lice, mustard gas, spattered brains, punctured lungs,
ripped guts, asphyxiation, mud and gangrene might be his.” –Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward Angel
Onomatapoeia – use of words whose sound echoes the sense
“Snap, crackle, pop!” –Commercial
“…From the clamor and the clangor of the bells!” –Edgar Allan Poe, “The Bells”
Oxymoron – the yoking of two terms which are ordinarily contradictory
“The unheard sounds came through, each melodic line existed of itself, stood out clearly from all the rest,
said its piece, and waiting patiently for the other voices to speak.” –Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
“Still waking sleep, that is not what it is!/ This love I feel, that feel no love is this.” –William Shakespeare,
Romeo and Juliet
Paradox – an apparently contradictory statement that nevertheless contains a measure of truth
“And yet, it was a strangely satisfying experience for an invisible man to hear the silence of sound.”—Ralph
Ellison, Invisible Man
“Art is a form of lying in order to tell the truth.” –Pablo Picasso
3-Cs are the most concise form of writing for the AP Literature Exam. In writing these
short journals, you will learn the art of economy, citation, and analysis of the terms and devices you have
been learning in class. You must write 18 3-Cs Assignments by the end of the semester (no more than
two a week), and they must follow the specific patterns below.
Your weekly assignments will be graded punctually (within a day or two) and returned to you with
Then you must re-write 9 3-C’s for your Final Portfolio following the instructions below:
- Hilight changes you have made
- Attach the original to the back of the Re-Write
- Write a 200 word explanation on
i. What you changed
ii. How the change differs from your first draft
iii. How it changed the tone of the paragraph POETRY DRILLS
On the AP Exam, you will be expected to read, dissect, and analyze poems in various ways. As a way to prepare you for
the dissection, we will use several Annotation Methods in class. These will be called Poetry Drills and the three we will use are
- Read poem aloud twice.
- Identify the rhetorical stance (SOAPStone)
Purpose–is the purpose of the speaker the same as that of the author?
- Identify literal level of meaning
Consider implication of title
- Identify key examples of diction
Look up unfamiliar words
Consider sound (phonetic intensives, assonance, consonance, and alliteration)
Consider rhyme and repetition
Is the language euphonious or cacophonous?
Identify ambiguous words or phrases
Categorize the diction
Check for allusions
- Identify key details
Identify sensory details–consider which senses they engage
- Identify imagery
Categorize the imagery
Look for repetitions or extensions of images
- Reread the poem.
Reconsider the subject–what is the subject of the poem at and beyond the literal level?
Write a tentative thesis that explains the relationship between the thematic and the technical levels of the poem.
- Characterize the language, i.e. formal, clinical, jargon
- Identify syntactical patterns
Identify rhetorical devices (schemes and tropes)
Identify patterns of emphasis or repetition
- Identify rhythm and meter 11. Reconsider relationship between theme and technique
- Restate thesis TPS-FASTT AIM Model
Taking A-I-M: Encouraging Complete Analysis
Effective analysis requires much of a writer. Unlike the discourse you see on talk shows, where someone states an
opinion based on nothing but his or her own OPINION, analysis requires EVIDENCE. However, moving from the text to a thesis
requires more than merely providing a quote. It requires you to
When you are analyzing a text, you need to make sure that your ideas are based on careful analysis of the text, rather
than feelings or personal opinion. The following steps will encourage discipline in analysis:
In other words, underline words/phrases that seem important. You may even find connections between underlined
words/phrases and draw arrows/lines between them. Are literary devices in action? The point is to make sure that
you choose some specific textual examples and then write brief commentary next to the text you select.
At this point, you need to comment directly on the words/phrases you have selected so that you can draw
INFERENCES from your observations. Is there a discernable pattern? Is there something concrete you notice
about the words/phrases? Do they contribute to the literal action, or are they figurative? In other words, in what
ways do all of your observations function in the context of the piece as a whole?
- Main Idea:
Taking all of your annotations and inferences into account, you are then prepared to discuss a main idea in the
text you are analyzing. If you are looking at the text as a whole you may wish to draft a thesis statement that
addresses your text. Remember that your thesis must always address a specific subject and a specific opinion
concerning that subject based on the evidence. Vendler Model (Emotional Curve)
Excerpted from Helen Vendler. Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology. Boston: Bedford, 1997.
New terms: agency, skeleton, emotional curve, contexts of diction, chains of significant relation, speech acts, outer form.
Meaning: Can you paraphrase in prose the general outline of the poem?
Antecedent Scenario: What has been happening before the poem begins? What has provoked the speaker into
utterance? How has a previous equilibrium been unsettled? What is the speaker upset about?
Division into parts: How many? Where do the breaks come?
The climax: How do the other parts fall into place around it?
The other parts: What makes you divide the poem into these parts? Are there changes in person? In agency? In
tense? In parts of speech?
Find the skeleton: What is the emotional curve on which the whole poem is strung? (It even helps to draw a shape—a
crescendo, perhaps, or an hourglass-shape, or a sharp ascent followed by a steep decline—so you’ll know how the poem
looks to you as a whole.)
Games with the skeleton: How is this emotional curve made new?
Language: What are the contexts of diction: chains of significant relation; parts of speech emphasized, tenses; and so
Tone: Can you name the pieces of the emotional curve—the changes in tone you can hear in the speaker’s voice as the
poem goes along?
- Agency and its speech acts: Who is the main agent in the poem, and does the main agent change as the poem
progresses? See what the main speech act of the agent is, and whether that changes. Notice oddities about agency and
- Roads not taken: Can you imagine the poem written in a different person, or a different tense, or with the parts
rearranged, or with an additional stanza, or with one stanza left out, conjecturing by such means why the poem might
have wanted these pieces in this order?
- Genres: What are they by content, by speech act, and by outer form?
- The imagination: What has it invented that is new, striking, memorable—in content, in genre, in analogies, in rhythm, in
a speaker? FINAL PORTFOLIO
At the end of the semester, you will be required to put the following information into your Final Portfolio. Because the
object of AP is to learn, you will get full credit on all assignments handed in on time (full credit meaning A). However, your final
grade will be dependent upon your re-writes, which you will put in your journal according to the specifications the list below. The rewrites and the other sections will account for 25% of your final grade – it is your FINAL EXAM.
WARNING: this portfolio, if left to the last minute (meaning the week before it is due), is BRUTAL and nearly impossible to
finish on time. RECOMMENDATION: stay on top of your re-writes (I suggest doing them very soon after you get them back).