Explication essay outline overview

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.


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. Youll want to include the title, authors name, and give a quick overview of the crucial elements of the story.


A key part of an explication essay, as opposed to other essay styles, is that whether it’s high school, college, or graduate level, you’re assessing and analyzing how a specific text was constructed. By starting with the actual construction of the piece, you build a case for your later interpretation of the specific passage. Within this construction, you want to be sure to explain the major plot points, themes, and character objectives and how they lead to the rising action and climax of the story. Without the construction notes and explanation, you’ll have a difficult time following up with analysis and examination.


To successfully analyze the piece and section as a whole, you need to spend significant time clarifying the actions and motivations of your piece. Without knowing why things are happening or the motivations the characters are experiencing, your analysis and examination wont make sense later on.


This is where youll build a case for your thesis statement and overall topic. Utilize different sections of the book to support your argument and prove your thesis point overall. Building up to this interpretation gives your readers a better understanding of your thesis statement and you create a much stronger argument.


Take time to wrap up at the end of your explication essay. Tie up any loose ends and ensure that you’ve proven your point from your thesis statement.

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