How to Write an Explication Essay

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How to Write an Explication Essay

An explication essay varies depending on the type of question being asked. For instance, you can have different questions, such as describing a historical period or event, helping the reader solve a problem, or explaining how something works. The explication essay aims to enable the students to present and summarize the central concept of the topic using their own words.

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What is an Explication Essay

An explication essay is an analytical essay where the writer clarifies or explains in detailed interpretation a poem, excerpt, verse, or passage after close reading in their own words. An explication essay explains a sentence, poetry, or passage extracted from a long literary work and extensively interprets and explains it.

They are mainly regarded as mini-essays since they are primarily short, around two to three pages long.

How to Write an Explication Essay Outline

An explication essay outline has three sections: Introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction Paragraph

The introduction paragraph presents the thesis statement and the essay topic. It should be clear, concise, and creative to catch the reader’s attention. The introduction, mainly between 4 and 6 sentences, should include the title of the literary work, the author, and a theme explanation.

The thesis statement is the most crucial part of the introduction, stating the essay’s main argument. It provides the reader with your essay’s overall opinion and main subject.

  • Body Paragraph

The body paragraph explains the arguments of the topic. You start with a brief introduction of the main ideas you will cover so that the reader knows what to expect. Then, explain those ideas briefly using 1 or 2 sentences stating why the ideas you picked as an example fit your argument. Use illustrations and examples and explain the topic sentence to argue your idea.

Finally, give a brief conclusion where you connect your opinion and the textual evidence to the thesis statement.

You should give supporting examples from the extracted passage to support your argument. The body should provide an extensive clarification and examination of the entire context to give the reader a well-rounded understanding – you should not only explain the points you think are essential.

  • Conclusion

A conclusion involves a summary or restating of the thesis statement and ideas presented in the essay using your own words. You explain in the conclusion section whether the author succeeds in achieving his objectives, evaluate how the essay topic connects to the thesis statement, give an opinion about the literary work and make a prediction.

The conclusion should be brief and concise and not introduce a new theme, which will confuse the reader. Include all facts from the essay in the conclusion section to help the reader skim through the content and get what they need.

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How to Write an Explication Essay

Follow the following steps to write an explication essay

  • Select an Explicate or Work to Explain

The first step in explication essay writing is picking the passage you want to explain. It can be a novel, play, short story, or poem. After determining the work, plan how you will approach your writing, i.e., the elements you will focus on. Every work has different features, but you may consider the author’s use of symbolism and figurative language.

Also, consider the overall structure of the work and the parts that make it. For instance, if you have chosen a poem, you may look at the poem’s rhyme, meter, scheme, and stanza.

You may consider the settings, characters, plot, and point of view if it is a short story.

  • Begin Writing

After selecting the work and the elements to focus on, start writing.

  • Write Introduction

Start your writing by introducing literature about the work you will explain in your essay. Include the author, title, and other crucial work information you have chosen. Then provide a summary of your work. The summary should be between 1 and 2 sentences to give an idea of your selected work.

  • The Body Paragraphs

You write a detailed analysis of the work you have chosen. The following are some of the elements you may discuss.

  • The poem’s title or work and its influence on the overall meaning
  • The narrator or speaker and their viewpoint
  • The work setting and how its influences the tone or mood
  • The symbols or images present and their contributions

Analyze such elements and support your arguments with examples from the passage. Your explanation should be to show how these elements influence the overall meaning of the passage.

  • Write Conclusion

Use the conclusion to summarize the main points and discuss how they influence the overall meaning of the passage. You can also explain your opinion on what the author is trying to communicate.

  • Proofread and Edit

After concluding your essay, proofread and edit any punctuation and grammar errors. You may also engage another person to read your explication essay and give their opinions.

  • Paragraph Outline of the Explication Essay

The paragraph outline of an explication essay differs slightly from other forms of writing in that instead of presenting facts, you explain them after researching or reading something. Your explication essay should have at least five body paragraphs unless given other instructions.

How To Cite a Poem

When citing a poem, it is crucial to format the quotation and quote the verse correctly. Include the line number and author’s name at the end of in-text citations to direct the reader to the source of the cited section. Including the line number and the author’s name lets the reader know the specific line and location where you extracted the information.

For example, if the poet’s name is Drury and you extracted the information between lines 6 and 7, the in-text citation should look like this (Drury, Lines 6 and 7).

After the in-text citation, write the bibliography in the works cited section containing complete publication information of the poem source. Citing the poem and identifying the authors shows accreditation to the poem’s author and also is a sign of due diligence. It shows your source’s credibility and indicates extensive research before explication essay writing.

Key Aspects to Consider when Writing an Explication Essay

You should consider the following aspects when writing an explication essay.

  • Word Choice   

When writing an explication essay, you should use clear language to convey your message. The word choice provides the context and the tone of the article. It gives the passage’s meaning, and therefore altering the author’s words can lead to the wrong interpretation of your work.

For instance, the phrase “a man sobbing” expresses grief, while “a man weeping” expresses an elegant picture. Therefore, word choice is crucial in understanding and analyzing the poem.

  • Author’s Credibility

You should determine the author’s credibility to help you examine the quality and reliability of the information. There are different intentions why authors write poems, and thus knowing their credibility will help you understand areas where they can be biased. The reputation and credibility of the poet provide a sense of confidence in the work being analyzed.

  • Rhythm

Rhythm is a consistent flow of emotions and ideas in a passage. You should examine how the author’s combination of words creates a uniform flow in the passage when crafting your explication essay. Authors apply rhythm in literary work to develop and maintain the workflow. So, examine how the author successfully uses rhythm and its role in academic work when writing your essay.

  • Symbols

When crafting an explication essay, you should analyse how the symbols used in the passage influence the theme. A symbol in the passage can have figurative and literal meanings. Therefore, you should understand the symbol’s interpretation and the author’s intention when writing an explication essay.

  • Punctuation

You should examine how the punctuation and sentence length impacts the author’s intent and message. For instance, authors use short sentences to begin a paragraph to catch the reader’s attention and at the end of the section to summarise and show completion.

On the other hand, long sentences add rhythm to writing. A good essay mixes both sentences; therefore, you should look at how effectively the author combines long and short sentences when writing an explication essay.

  • Clarity

A practical explication essay has sentences and paragraphs that are correct and clear. The clarity in the sections and sentences enables the reader to understand the article.

For example, suppose you are examining a complex poem that people need help understanding. In that case, your essay should give an interpretation, clarify for the reader, and show the author’s intention.

  • Sound

Authors, especially poets, use sounds to support their work. Sounds enable the reader to create some sense of visual image and also enhance the mood and tone of literary work. Interpreting the sound used and describing their effectiveness in supporting academic work is crucial when writing an explication essay.

  • Figures of Speech

The figure of speech in literary work adds richness to the writing. For instance, comparisons in paper give the reader an extensive understanding and the ability to imagine the written context. Therefore, you should be able to identify and understand the figurative language when writing an explication essay.

You should also be able to explain the meaning of the poet’s analogies, metaphors, or similes.

Explication Essay Help

This guide has provided information on how to write an explication essay. However, if you are still facing challenges in crafting your essay due to time constraints or need help to balance academic and life activities, you can seek help from a top speech writing service like Gudwriter. We have a team of professionals ready to craft your explication essay and we guarantee content free from plagiarism, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

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