Themes Contrasts In general, explication essays examine sentences, verses or short passages a paragraph or two taken from longer literary works. These mini-essays, typically a page or less, interpret and explain short extracts from a literary work on a detailed level. Actually, you have to analyze how the text works so it is both a reading process and a literary analysis in a refined form.
Their actions are simple at best: With the opening of the poem, the man asks a question, rhetorical perhaps, that seems harmless enough: The volta, or "turn," at the beginning of the line colors the tone of his question, apparently confirming his suspicion that their love has limitations and exists in isolation, rather than his asking something for which he seeks an answer.
Besides isolation, his statement also suggests loneliness and negativity.
Reflection dominates as opposed to action or involvement between the pair, which appears as negative: Our two protagonists allow life, and with it love, to escape from them in slow, measured time, as indicated by the slow beats of their hearts.
The ambiguity of the scene, wherein we know nothing of the place, circumstances, or identities of the couple, seems secondary to other considerations, most notably the voltas encountered in the poem and the bleak direction they lead the reader: Other phrases are just as telling in indicating the overall negative feel of the poem.
So too, the opening line of the twice-repeated stanza—"Counting the beats"—does not supply a subject as to who does the counting or why it becomes necessary. We must suspect that the implied subject of the line points to the couple themselves, as they count the beats of their wakeful hearts in a quiet, still time that does not give rest or bring them closer together.
The two have few words to exchange with one another and, because they apparently do not wish to disturb each other further, each whispers.
Moreover, their love seems to flow in the wrong direction as their blood does not stimulate, "course" through them with passion, but bleeds out like slow suicide, like self-inflicted wounds.
So it is that the simple events and intimate setting of the man and woman, those that often situate couples in love poems, here suggest love as a negative: Once again, the simplicity of the language indicates that feel or impression.
To her question of where they shall be "When death strikes home," he responds "Not there but here. His rejoinder of a negative and contradiction—"Not there but here"—not only summarizes their predicament, it limits the range of how much we as readers should care.
After all, no specifics are available: We remain all too familiar with the "here" of the lovers, a depressing place of limitation, absent passion, and the entropy of love—wasted energy that affords no use. Indeed, the narrator underscores this fatalism, who, as an omniscient observer possesses more knowledge of the future than do they.
How this information may be possible does not interest us as readers, because we focus on the simplicity—the language, the setting, the ambiguous but unfettered relationship—and thus take for granted that any future for the pair must be as uncomplicated in its inevitability as are the events and conversation that precede it.
Now "Cloudless day" reads more like an absence of something as opposed to safety or the freedom from care; we feel a cyclical sameness, boredom, and the inevitability of time, and with it an inevitable future: Troubles and pain to come are not generic; "the" storm, as opposed to one of generality, forces readers once again to appreciate the couple as fated, a fact the narrator shares with us at their expense.The following offers an example of how to explicate a poem.
You should note that explication, much like a standard argument paper, needs a specific thesis with a limited focus. Poetry explication takes the reader on a guided tour through how a poem works.
An explicative essay for a poem provides a short analysis of the poem's meaning, focusing also on how the language and structure of the poem provide a relationship between the topic and theme.
Writing an explication is an effective way for a reader to connect a poem’s plot and conflicts with its structural features. This handout reviews some of the important techniques of approaching and writing a poetry explication, and includes parts of two sample explications.
Essay #1: Poetry Explication A poetry explication is a relatively short analysis that describes the possible meanings and relationships of the words, images, and other small units that make up a poem.
Essay #1: Poetry Explication A poetry explication is a relatively short analysis that describes the possible meanings and relationships of the words, images, and other small units that make up a poem. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Similar to an analysis essay, an explication essay examines sentences, verses or passages pulled from longer literary works, to interpret and explain on a detailed level.
An explication essay must also examine how the selected words are strung together to give the passage a distinctive tempo or flow. Examine the writer’s word organization to analyze how it works to create rhythm and tone.
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