An explication is a commentary revealing the meanings of a text. Explication is a fundamental skill for anyone engaged in interpreting texts – whether teacher, critic, editor, historian, attorney, clergy, or any professional involved with written language. Explicating texts helps students to learn critical thinking and verbal skills pertaining to the synthesis and presentation of information.
It consists of two parts:
1) A detailed reading and analysis of the linguistic, compositional, and expressive parts of a text. This is an analysis of particular parts of the text that serve as evidence for part 2.
2)The synthesis of these parts into a coherent meaning for the whole. Basically, this means that your evidence from part 1 adds up to prove your thesis/assertion about the text. This assertion should be explicitly stated and should concern some hidden aspect of the text that needs further analysis or interpretation.
Fiction/Prose: A close analytical reading of a text. The goal is to fully explicate, or explain the text addressing particular features. Important features may include one or a combination of the following: narration/speaker, setting/context, mood, meaning/tone, syntax, diction, imagery, figurative language, sound, form, and/or allusions. The final product should being with an introduction and thesis statement about the overall meaning of the piece, or about a particular focus in the text that you will be analyzing. Try not to be too general in your thesis/assertion, or your paper will seem too much like a summary of obvious points. Use the paper sample on pg 53 to look at a good paper example.
Fiction/Prose writing is cited using (Author pg#) Example: (Baldwin 55)
Drama: Drama writing is similar to fiction/prose, except for its focus on stagecraft, structure, and context may be different in some cases. Also, drama can permit evaluation of a particular passage or situation in a play, rather than a more general focus. Paper example is on page 796.
Drama writing is cited using Act/Scene/Line format. Example: (1.3.55-72) means Act 1, Scene 3, Line 55-72
Poems: A poetic explication follows the order of lines/stanzas in the poem itself, examining words, phrases, and structures in detail. The explication includes your main thesis/argument about the poem and its meaning or significant. It can include discussion of the speaker in the poem; the situation or setting; the poem’s form, rhyme, meters; its use of figurative or metaphorical language; its tone, and ultimately, its overall effect. It may refer to the poem’s context, but it focuses primarily on the poem itself. There is a poetry paper example on pg 505.
Poetic lines are cited by line number in the poem. Example: (2-3), or (5) refers to the lines in a poem
College Level Formatting
Citation – Overview
Use of Research
•Your thesis should not be an IMMEDIATELY obvious concept from the text. This means you should not just catalog a common theme in the given text, because this leads to the writer just summarizing the story. Youneed to have a point that needs to be proven with evidence, rather than a point that is obvious to the average reader. You need a claim, or “argument”, to prove.
•You should quote from your sources directly. When you quote, it should help to explain the details of your argument or thesis. You can also paraphrase or summarize, but quotes are stronger forms of evidence and are part of the paper requirements.
•All sources listed on your works cited should be in-text cited in your paper, so I can identify where they came from. If they don’t appear in this way, then I have no evidence you used this source and it won’t count.
•Please do not use extensively long quotes or block quotes.