When writing an explication essay on John Jay Chapman’s “Coatsville” from “The Best American Essays of the Century” stay close to the text! Consider, but do not feel obligated to include each of the following: The title of the essay
What does the author argue for? What claim does the author make?
Author’s intended audience-think about the 3 purposes for an essay- is the essay one of opinion and meant to instruct, does it impart information, or is it a memoir?
Author’s use of language
Author’s tone or attitude as reflected in the writing
Your agreement with the position author has taken in the essay
Not looking for a summary, but an engagement with the text. You are analyzing and explaining a specific essay, not analyzing and explaining the issue.
Quote only when you need to, when the author’s phrase is so distinctive that it needs to be preserved.
In the last paragraph, do nor merely summarize the points you have made in your argument. Instead, try to arrive at why this particular essay is relevant today. Why read the essay? Why is it still in print? This paragraph should attempt to answer the question, “So what?”