Explication of Epthalamion

after you have analyzed the poem you chose and decide what how you are interpreting it, you will formulate a thesis (based on your focus or approach or interpretation) to support those ideas. Then, as in the discussions that have been assigned the last two weeks, you will use the rest of the paper to provide evidence to support your analysis. You should quote the text when needed, but rely on your own words. No more than 20% of any paper should be quoted material.
Below is a good, though not perfect, sample of an explication from a past semester (with the student’s permission). You can see that the student examines the wording and meaning in order to support the thesis, which is “Focusing specifically on Sonnet 1, Spenser used symbolism, similes, and metaphors to express how he is leaving his life in Elizabeth’s hands; he also makes references to Ancient Greece towards the end of the sonnet.”
An explication is a close reading and analysis of a short piece of text that is intended to be practice for the types of writing English majors do: close reading, analysis, interpretation, formulating an argument, using evidence. It is also meant to show students that there is no single “key” that unlocks meaning and only a few people have that “key.” As long as you can support your analysis with evidence from the text, you are on the right track. Evidence from the text is important, though: it is both factually incorrect and unsupported by the text to say Beowulf is about a man and his dog. However, there is much to say about Grendel. How you interpret Grendel’s role (monster? human outlaw? something else?) is up to you as long as you can support it with evidence from the text.
I am using Beowulf as the example here because of the simplicity of the plot (no dogs present) and the vast differences in the possible interpretation of Grendel. Your poems are short, but once you start digging into it, you will find a lot to talk about, especially when you start paying attention to and looking up words in the OED. What appears as a simple 14-line sonnet about spurned love can open up to become something a lot more complex!
As you work, keep these questions in mind: what is the poet trying to say? Why is he using those words? Why are the words in that order? What symbolism is he using?
I hope this helps!

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