Writing an Explication Essay

explication essay writing

Among different types of papers which students have to write from time to time, an explication essay has a special place since it has its own peculiarities and guidelines. It is aimed at explaining the meaning of a certain literature piece, usually, does not exceed 1000 words and therefore must have a sharp focus.

How to write an explication essay

The key to creating a good text here is to manage to reveal the meaning of a certain passage slowly. Most likely, your professor will give you several pieces of literature to choose from. Once you decide which one is more attractive, you must identify the theme’s statement, main scenes as well as starting and closing sections.

The next step is to split the passage into several parts and interpret each one of them. Your goal here is to show how each element connects to each other, therefore you need to provide an analysis of the characters, their motives and different symbols.

What is the best way to structure an explication paper

This type of text is no different from others in terms of its structure. It should have a catchy introduction containing a thesis statement, main arguments and examples to support them. The main part of the essay should support your ideas providing examples from the plot you are analyzing. Finally, the conclusion is your last chance to show your understanding of the piece providing a brief summary of the main points and giving some food for thought for your reader. When you have doubts whether you are going in the right direction, ask yourself: “What is an explication essay?” and move on.

When you begin to write your essay, it is better to start with the quote of the major passage. Don’t forget to provide details on the page and paragraph in parenthesis. And then keep on unfolding the piece line-by-line.

Another way to proceed with your text is to provide a general evaluation of the plot. If you decide to go this way, pay attention to the background and narration. Then outline its climax and outcomes. Your goal, in this case, is to show how the plot of the story develops and how the chosen excerpts support the theme of the whole piece.

Also, pay attention how the selected passage represents the whole literature piece.

Poetry explication sets a special place among other types of essays. It describes and interprets the possible sense of words, images and other parts of a poem. For a literary explication of a poem, you should start with its main idea and then go deeper into the details. Be specific and keep it short. Remember that the essay is very limited in the number of words.

Here are some ideas on how to explicate a poem.

  1. Read the title and then the poem itself. Do it aloud several times.
  2. Define the poem’s parts. Where is the intro, climax, conclusion?
  3. What is its tone? You must pay attention to the intonation and words usage. You will notice that even the same words have a different tone depending on the context. Notice how different the poem would be if the author selected different phrases. Also, it is words that give the piece a certain tempo and rhythm.
  4. Pay attention to the poem’s genre, structure, punctuation, thesis, imagery, language and say few sentences about those. You might be surprised by how the author ignores proper punctuation or provides strange images. Think how this adds to the whole picture of the poem.

By now you should have a basic understanding of how to write an explication essay. It might be somewhat difficult at first. However, such work is important since it develops your analytical skills and critical thinking. Take it seriously and you will end up with a great text deserving the highest mark.

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