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Rhetorical Terms > Trope > Flashcards

Flashcards in Trope Deck (34):


An extended metaphor.

Ex 1: "During the time I have voyaged on this ship, I have avoided the cabin; rather, I have remained on deck, battered by wind and rain, but able to see moonlight…"

Ex 2: "This is a valley of ashes--a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take forms of houses and...of men..." (Fitzgerald 27).



A reference in a written or spoken text to another text or to some particular body of knowledge.

Ex 1: "I doubt if Phaethon feared more -- that time/ he dropped the sun-reins of his father's chariot/ and burned the streak of sky we see today" (Dante's Inferno).

Ex 2: "Have you read 'The rise of the Coloured Empires' by this man Goddard?" (Fitzgerald 17).



Inversion or reversal of the usual order of words.

Ex: Echoed the hills.
Inversion from: The hills echoed



The substitution of one part of speech for another. It is the use of a word that is normally one part of speech in a situation that requires it to be understood as a different part of speech. In English, and this is one of its greatest virtues, almost any noun can be verbed.

Ex 1: "To scarf," for example, was the verb implied in Hamlet's speech, where he says, 'My sea-gown scarf'd about me.'

Ex 2: The thunder would not peace at my bidding.

Ex 3: You jesus'd that.



The juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas, often in parallel structure. Antithesis, literal meaning opposite, is a rhetorical device in which two opposite ideas are put together in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect.

Ex 1: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." (Barry Goldwater)

Ex 2: "…found her lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress--and as drunk as a monkey" (Fitzgerald 81).

Ex 3: “Setting foot on the moon may be a small step for a man but a giant step for mankind.”
The use of contrasting ideas, “a small step” and “a giant step”, in the sentence above emphasizes the significance of one of the biggest landmarks of human history.


Flat Character

A figure readily identifiable by memorable traits but not fully developed. Flat characters are two-dimensional in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

Ex: Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.



The structural elements that constitute the presentation of a written text.

Ex: The Modern Language Association (MLA) has created a format for research papers.



Intuitive writing strategy for generation of ideas by writing without stopping.

Ex: In English 1, I performed freewriting for two short pieces.


Functional Part

A part of a text classified according to its function.

Ex: The introduction.



An exaggeration for effect.

Ex 1: "I told you a billion times not to exaggerate."

Ex 2: "…we scattered light through half Astoria…" (Fitzgerald 72).



The art of generating material for a text; the first of the five traditional canons of rhetoric.

Ex: I use brainstorming before an essay as invention.



A text in which writers produce informal compositions that help them "think on paper" about topics and writing projects.

Ex: I had a journal last year for Honors English in which I recorded my thoughts on various novels I read.



The process of writing in a journal.

Ex: I wrote a journal last year for Honors English on the books I read.


Loose Sentence

A sentence that adds modifying elements after the subject, verb, and complement.

Ex: "Bells rang, filling the air with their clangor, startling pigeons into flight from every belfry, bringing people into the streets to hear the news."



Representation of a thing as less than it really is to compel greater esteem for it.

Ex 1: Calling an act of arson a prank.

Ex 2: Calling lying about killing someone a little white lie.



An implied comparison that does not use the word like or as.

Ex 1: "No man is an island" (Donne).

Ex 2: She was a cloud, floating above the rest of the insignificant beings without a second thought.



Juxtaposed words with seemingly contradictory meanings.

Ex 1: "O miserable abundance! O beggarly riches!" (Donne).

Ex 2: Deafening silence



Irony in which one proposes to pass over a matter, but subtly reveals it.

Ex 1: "She is talented, not to mention rich."

Ex 2: "So what's the girl you're setting me up with like?"
"She's really nice, smart, and funny. Oh, she also happens to be hot."



In ancient Roman oratory, the part of a speech in which the speaker would draw together the entire argument and include material designed to compel the audience to think or act in a way consonant with the central argument. This is like the conclusion of an essay.

Ex: In Julius Caesar's speech, the peroration came at the end.



The major character in a piece of literature; the figure in the narrative whose interests the reader is most concerned about and sympathetic toward. They can be villains as long as they're the main character.

Ex: Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.



The set of assumptions, skills, facts, and experience that a reader brings to a text to make meaning.



The context--including time and place--of a narrative.

Ex: The area surround New York City in the 1920s is the setting of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.



A system calling for writers to read or listen to one another's work and suggest ways to improve it.

Ex: In AP US History, we peer reviewed each other's take-home DBQs.



A type of comparison that uses the word like or as.

Ex: "There was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away" (Fitzgerald 2).



Logical reasoning from inarguable premises.

Ex 1: All mortals die. All humans are mortal. All humans die.

Ex 2: Major premise: All mammals are warm-blooded.
Minor premise: All black dogs are mammals.
Conclusion: Therefore, all black dogs are warm-blooded.



A part of something used to refer to the whole.

Ex 1: "The hired hands are not doing their jobs."
Workers are referred to by their hands only.

Ex 2: They were up against fifty sails.
Ships are referred to by their sails.



The order of words in a sentence.

Ex: "The dog ran" not "The ran dog."



The message conveyed by a literary work. What the author is trying to say.

Ex: The decline of the American dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.



The writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject matter.

Ex: Light-hearted in the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.
Light hearted is the tone.



Deliberate playing down of a situation in order to make a point.

Ex: "I think there's a problem between Shias and Sunnis."



The sense that a text is, appropriately, about only one subject and achieves one major purpose or effect.

Ex: Pride by Dagoberto Gilb


Unreliable Narrator

An untrustworthy or naïve commentator on events and characters in a story.

Ex 1: The people at Gatsby's parties like Jordan who spread rumors about Gatsby's past in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Ex 2: Harry who witnessed and thought of Snape as evil during the last books, because of actions Snape took without previous context.



The quality of a text that reflects the truth of actual experience.

Ex: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon has medium verisimilitude.
Meaning it didn't reflect human experiences amazingly.



A trope in which one word, usually a noun or the main verb, governs two other words not related in meaning. A figure of speech in which a word applies to two others in different senses (e.g., John and his license expired last week ) or to two others of which it semantically suits only one (e.g., with weeping eyes and hearts ).

Ex: He governs his will and his kingdom.