For this paper, you will be writing an explication of a poem: The Waking

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A poetry explication is an explanation of what you believe the message of the poem is. The goal of an explication is to illuminate the meaning of the poem for other readers.

  • What does the title contribute to the reader’s understanding?
  • Who is speaking?
  • What is the situation?
  • What is the setting?
  • What difficult, special, unusual words does the poem contain?
  • What is the mood of the poem?
  • What is the meaning of the poem? Look beyond the surface meaning to the actual message the poet is trying to relay.
  • To begin, the essay should have an introductory paragraph that states the poem’s title, the author and provides a brief background on the poem. The last sentence in the introduction is your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the cornerstone of the essay. It is the one sentence which can be read in isolation and the reader will know exactly what the essay is going to be about. The easiest way to compose a thesis statement is to combine all of the main ideas from your body paragraph topics into just one sentence. The thesis statement takes your audience and purpose into account, is neither too broad nor too narrow, and is written in firm, confident language.
  • The body of your paper should focus on the seven questions listed above. As you craft your body paragraphs, be sure to use direct quotes from the text to explain your examples. Recall the honesty statement though and do not exceed 20% of quoted, paraphrased, or summarized content. The majority of the explication should reflect your own original thinking and writing.
  • Your last paragraph should conclude by memorably wrapping up your entire piece and restating the main ideas of the explication.
  • Minimum: 3 pages
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