Song Explication Essay

Song Explication Assignment The name of the song is Imagine By John Lennon! Purpose: This is not a summary of the song, nor should it include your personal response to the song [do not use first or second person]. An explication is a line-by-line examination of how the song works; you explicate, or unfold, the song’s inner workings by paying careful attention to the song’s language—how it uses sound devices, connotation, denotation, tone and diction, figures of speech, and so on. **Note: you will not write about each and every line–keep reading for more detail***  Organization and Content: In song explication, you start with a brief statement about the song’s overall dramatic situation. Then you move to the theme or meaning. Include a thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph. Your thesis needs to let the reader know which formal elements you will address in your essay and how they relate to the song’s overall meaning. Be sure to include quotes from the song to support your examination and discussion of the song. Cite or identify line numbers when quoting. “Line by line” does not mean a methodical “assembly line” approach. However, you want to make sure that you do not skip analysis of an entire chunk of a whole verse of the song. When explicating a song, you must explain which formal elements you find that seem significant. Write: Write a 750-1000 word [3-5 pages] Song Explication Essay. It must be typed, double-spaced with standard font [Times New Roman] and margins. Separate MLA-style Works Cited page required; only if you looked up the lyrics. You must use 8th edition MLA citation rules. Guidelines and requirements: Thesis statement must appear in the last sentence of the first paragraph. The title of the work of the song writer must be identified early in the first paragraph of your paper, but I do not need any history or background information of the singer/songwriter. You may have to research this because the singer may not always be the songwriter. Cite where you retrieved the information both in-text and on the Works Cited Page. You need an original title that hints at the content of your essay. Paper must be well-organized and use clear transitions. Paper must be free of punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and format errors. You must use academic voice, meaning third person and college level vocabulary. You CANNOT use I, me, you, us, we, our, etc. otherwise known as first and second person. Paper must be submitted as a Word doc. to the TurnitIn drop box on Canvas. Papers not submitted there will not be graded; emailed papers will not be graded.  You must use quotes and examples from the song to support your analysis. No outside sources, regarding analysis, are to be consulted. This is your own analysis not someone else’s. You may only use the lyric website and/or where you retrieved the singer/songwriter information. Helpful hints: This essay is a “map” and a tour guide through the song you’ve chosen to explicate. Thinking About the Song: To get started, read the lyrics to the song. As you read, annotate the song. Then, free-write about the elements you find notable in the song, particular poetic devices you notice, questions you have as you read the lyrics, images and lines that leap out at you, etc. [See sample explication file: How to Explicate] How_To_Explicate-1.pdf Minimize File Preview Pre-writing and Organizing Your Ideas: Make a list of elements and devices that you sense are predominant and important in the song. Then, write a brief sample response to help clarify your thinking about what is happening in the poem. What elements do you see working in the song? What seems to be the author’s argument, message, or overall meaning? Come up with a tentative thesis. Thesis format example: __________________ [song writer’s name] use of ___________________________________ [identify the elements/devices here] in his/her song, “__________________” [title of song] emphasizes/demonstrates/embodies/proves the song’s message expressing how/interpretation of/view of/ main idea about ______________________. Writing Your Paper: Introduction paragraph should provide a brief [2-3 sentences] overview of the song’s structure, subject, and meaning. Place your thesis at the end of this paragraph. Be sure to identify the song and the song writer right away.                 Use [ ] and … for changes to the original quote. Use / to indicate where a line ends and where the next begins in your quote. Put a space before and after the slash. For example: “Hickory dickory dock / the mouse ran up the clock…” Use line numbers instead of page numbers in your parenthetical citations. Examples: “He hung a grunting weight, / battered and venerable / and homely” (lines 7-9). “I thought of the coarse white flesh” (27). Grading: See rubric. Content: Thesis is well-developed, literary elements are applied correctly, and you have used specific examples [quotes from the textbook and the song] to support thesis. Details of each line are clear, specific, and appropriate for an academic audience. Make sure your discussion of the song’s elements [tone, metaphor, sounds, etc.] support your explanation of the song. Effective thinking is demonstrated. Organization: Each body paragraph should be focused on one element. Here is the format for a college-level paragraph. Sentence one: introduce the element Sentence two: define the element Sentence three: explain the element Sentence four: introduce the quote, and place the quote into that sentence Sentence five-six: analyze the quote and how it relates to the element you have defined Sentence seven: conclude and transition Style and Mechanics: Use college-level sentence structure and college-level word choice. Do not use first or second person. The essay should have a professional/academic tone and not a conversational tone. All punctuation, grammar, and spelling rules must be followed. Format: The paper should have in-text references in every body paragraph. Everything cited in-text should also be cited on the reference page. Proper MLA heading, spacing, margins, and font should be used. The paper should be 750-1000 words. Less than 750 will lower your grade and more than 1000 will lower your grade. It is important to be concise with your analysis. Examples for works cited page:  Spotify Rae Morris. “Skin.” Cold, Atlantic Records, 2014. Spotify,      open.spotify.com/track/0OPES3Tw5r86O6fudK8gxi

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