When looking for ways to discuss what expository writing really “is”, I made a search for a quick, and memorable explanation, to use as a springboard for my post. What a found was this dorky, internet gem:
Just as Mr. Heath’s song suggests, exposition is a form of discourse used to explain and provide the reader with information on a certain topic of interest. Unlike a persuasive essay, works of exposition have an entirely different set of goals, as well as ways an author might go about achieving them. Instead of using the paper as a means to support or defend claim, an expository essay should focus on using information to discuss central idea. For example, if the topic of the essay were the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the work should explain to the reader specifics such as why this is happening, and who is involved, but should be composed in a way that steers clear of personal biases or taking to any one side.
Additionally, the author is required to consider the audience to which he/she is writing, and to adjust the work accordingly. It is important to consider how much or how little in depth the information should go, as a means of helping the reader take away as information on the topic as possible. For example, if the work is aimed at informing drummers on how to tighten drum heads, including something such as the history of percussive instruments may weaken the exposition because the author is most likely already aware, or that information is a distraction from the central idea. Conversely, if detailing the history of percussive instruments, the author must be careful not to go too in depth with technical info, as may also be inappropriate for the audience at hand. Even Mr. Heath’s jingle about expository write seems to implement these concepts. Because he is aware that his audience is most likely un-informed on the subject, any dense information on the topic is eliminated, and the focus is instead to create a simple, absorbable work that explains the subject as concisely as possible.
The more specific approach required of an expository writer may be more difficult to construct, but the medium also provides the author with freedom to express ideas in a more creative fashion. One of the hallmarks of this style is that the author is allowed to include details from their own life in addition to information found in traditional research. This is a major contrast to the typical, persuasive essays found in academia, which stress a removal of any personal experiences in a piece of writing. Once again, this is because a successful argumentative essay requires strong, peer-reviewed sources, whilst exposition’s purpose is to provide the reader with as much rich, useful information on the topic as possible. Writing through exposition can remove the stifling boundaries within typical essays, and encourages creativity and thought in addition to facts. This is why expository writers such as Prown are allowed to indulge on more abstract topics and can even cite their own former works. These style writers them to use their own observations as evidence. If working under a persuasive guidelines, how might one possibly prove a comparison of a teapot to a human breast, if they are not allowed to reference their own observations and senses? As a result, it’s rather clear to see how material culture studies have been shaped by the practice of expository writing. The freedom of the genre creates the opportunity to hypothesize and create evidence for innovative patterns of thought and rhetoric.