Metaphors from Top AP English Exam Novels

In preparation for the AP English Literature and Composition exam, learn the vocabulary from these metaphors -- taken from popular AP novels. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared (NOT using "like" or "as").

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definitions & notes only words
  1. truculent
    defiantly aggressive
    "She really was a most charming girl, and might have passed for a captive fairy, whom that truculent ogre, Old Barley, had pressed into his service." -Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  2. brood
    the young of an animal cared for at one time
    "The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels."- The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  3. attentive
    giving care
    "I got Miss Catherine and myself to Thrushcross Grange; and, to my agreeable disappointment, she behaved infinitely better than I dared to expect. She seemed almost over-fond of Mr. Linton; and even to his sister she showed plenty of affection. They were both very attentive to her comfort, certainly. It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn."- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  4. dung
    fecal matter of animals
    “Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.” - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  5. humiliate
    cause to feel shame
    "Through the valley flowed a Mississippi of humiliated Americans." -Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  6. soar
    rise rapidly
    “Man's hope can paint a purple picture, can transform a soaring vulture into a noble eagle or moaning dove.”- Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
  7. inclination
    a characteristic likelihood of or natural disposition
    “I have been used to consider poetry as "the food of love," said Darcy.
    "Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.”
    ― Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  8. hack
    chop or cut away
    "Let me tell you something. A man ain’t a goddamn ax. Chopping, hacking, busting every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down because they’re inside."- Beloved, Toni Morrison
  9. ravel
    disentangle or separate out
    “How do our lives ravel out into the no-wind, no-sound, the weary gestures wearily recapitulant: echoes of old compulsions with no-hand on no-strings: in sunset we fall into furious attitudes, dead gestures of dolls.” -As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
  10. quiver
    shake with fast, tremulous movements
    “Doesn't our knowledge of death make life more precious?"
    "What good is a preciousness based on fear and anxiety? It's an anxious quivering thing”-White Noise, Don Delillo
  11. taint
    the state of being contaminated
    "There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.” - Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  12. jingle
    a metallic sound
    " 'Her voice is full of money,' he said suddenly.
    That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.”
    ―The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Created on September 24, 2013 (updated October 9, 2013)

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