There are many types of essays that an instructor, teacher or professor can assign. If you misinterpret the type and write in the wrong format, you may receive a poor grade. To explicate means to unfold or explain, and when writing an explication essay, there are specific guidelines to follow in order to create a successful paper.


The introductory paragraph of your explication essay presents the reader with your topic and thesis statement. If you’re writing your essay on a short story, state the title, author’s name, and give a brief overview of the essential elements of the story. Present your thesis statement -- the central argument of your essay -- as clearly as possible. It’s often wise to make the last sentence of your introductory paragraph your thesis statement to ensure your reader is aware of exactly what you’re arguing.


An essential part of the explication process is analyzing and explaining how a specific text is constructed. Only after you’ve explained to your reader in detail and with careful observation how a piece is constructed will you be ready to accurately interpret the piece. For example, if your explication essay’s focus is a short story, the major plot points, themes and character objectives lead to the construction of the rising action, climax and other essential parts of the story. Without a paragraph that includes close analysis and examination of the stories’ construction, a successful explication essay is difficult to write.


There are a great number of influential and important poems, short stories, novels and other pieces of literature that contain sections, characters and elements that are difficult to understand. A successful explication essay contains a paragraph that outlines and clarifies sections of the focus piece that are difficult to digest. For example, if your essay focuses on the greed of the protagonist in a novel and it’s ambiguous as to whether or not the protagonist stole her money or earned it, you must use evidence from the text to prove to your reader that the protagonist stole money.

Interpretation & Conclusion

The examination and clarification of a text's construction and ambiguity offers your reader a developed understanding of the work as a whole, and once this has been achieved, your interpretations can be submitted. Several paragraphs in an explication essay should make assertions related to your thesis and provide supporting examples from the text. For example, if you’re arguing in an interpretation paragraph that the antagonist only loves herself, an example from the text where she’s pampering herself and ignoring her children will prove your point. After your interpretation paragraphs have been written, the conclusion paragraph should re-state your thesis and wrap up all of the ideas and points presented in your essay.