Explication, or, more technically, explication de texte, is defined as a "method of literary criticism in which the interrelated details of a written work are examined and analyzed in an effort to understand its structure and discover its meanings." The term "structure," of course, describes much more than just the form (sonnet, villanelle, free verse, etc.) of a poem.
In other words, explicating a poem entails conducting a detailed analysis of both structure and content. The term "content" refers to the language of a poem. In other terms, then, analyzing the content of a poem involves offering a careful analysis of the specific words of a poem; this careful analysis of the language of a poem will, of course, lead to a discussion of other elements as well, including setting, speaker, metaphor, irony, etc. (the interrelated details).
Choose two of the poems from the assigned readings and:
* write a detailed analysis of its form and content.
* consider discussing such things as form of the poem and its content, the effect of such stylistic devices as alliteration, assonance, rhyme, meter variation.
**students should select poems not previously used in another assignment.
Discuss one essay (from the assigned readings through one or two
divergent critical approaches to literature.
Regardless of how you approach the essay, I expect it to be structured around some organizing thesis (main argument) that you pursue throughout your analysis of the essay. In other words, the goal of the essay is to make an argument about what the essay means through a careful analysis of its structure and content. Finally, be sure to read the requirements listed below, as this essay is different from the previous one in that it requires you to use three outside critical sources in your essay.
The requirements for the essay are as follows:
- Essay must be 6 pages in length
- Essay must be argumentative in nature
- Essay must use a sufficient number of textual examples--quotations followed by explanation and interpretation--as argumentative support
- Essay must contain at least three in-text citations
- Essay must adhere to MLA standards and guidelines
- Rough draft of essay must be exchanged with other class members.
- Also, here are a few things you should keep in mind as you are writing your essay:
- Your essay should contain a well-argued thesis statement
- The "body" of your essay should work to support your thesis statement
- Your essay should be free of grammatical and punctuation errors
- Titles of poems should be placed inside quotation marks
- Quoted lines of poetry should be separated by a slash, and the parenthetical citation should refer to the line numbers of the quotation, as in the following example: In "The Road Not Taken," Robert Frost writes, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood / And sorry I could not travel both" (1-2).
For the second essay, as with the first, you will be required to read and make comments on the rough drafts of your classmates' essays. Students must have a rough draft in order to read a rough draft .