What is an explication essay? When youre asked to write an explication essay, youre setting out to analyze, interpret, and explain shorter passages in a longer literary work. This is most often applied to poems, short stories, and novels that have many moving pieces like sections, characters, and other elements that can be difficult to understand. Outline-Introduction Every explication outline starts with a section for an introduction. This is where you present your topic and thesis statement and how it relates to your assignment.