Expository writing is writing that EXPLORES and EXPLAINS things. It gives the writer the freedom to investigate a topic in such a way that the writer can show the reader various aspects that are interesting, challenging and thought provoking about a topic/prompt. This type of writing/essay allows for exploration of the topic while still being able to express a viewpoint. Such an essay should give a balanced discussion of different views and should consider the pros and cons of the prompt and related themes/issues. The essay may lead the expression of a particular point of view on the prompt as the piece comes to a conclusion (a ‘yes’ but ‘no’ response). This essay allows the writer to discuss themes and issues in a general, philosophical or global manner.
The prompt is not a topic – instead you should approach it as being an invitation to write. The focus of this style of writing is on the ideas in the prompt and how these are being explored, drawing on examples from a variety of sources: contemporary life, personal experience, history, stories, quotes, sayings, evidence from literature, etc. Examples from the core text studied must be used (and be the dominant text referred to) as well as a variety of supplementary texts/sources.
Your response will be assessed based on the interrelationship between (1) the quality of the ideas presented (2) the quality of the writing and (3) how the prompt has been handled.
When you write in the expository form, you are required to expose or explain a detailed view of the Context. In other words, this form allows you to discuss an interpretation of the Context by using the set text(s) as a springboard for your ideas. This response is an open discussion of how the Context operates not only in the world(s) of the text(s) studied, but also in the external world that we live in.
There are many forms of writing that can be considered expository, so it is important that you select a form that best suits the audience and purpose of your piece. In your SAC work you will have the opportunity to select the most effective audience and purpose for your response.
Expository writing incudes the following forms:
A feature article
The form that you select will also be determined by the place in which the response might be published. You may be given this information, but you may also be required to decide upon this yourself. Such pieces may be published in an anthology, a newsletter, a newspaper or a research report, so keep this in mind.
Example of an Expository Essay #1
Prompt: ‘There are costs to the individual in belonging to a group’
Use the prompt as the basis for a piece of writing exploring the idea that there are costs to the individual in belonging to a group. Your piece is to be published in an anthology of student writing intended for circulation to the wider school community.
Audience: The wider school community
The language employed in the expository essay is formal throughout
As social animals, human beings like to belong. This is understandable because belonging to a group can, indeed, have immeasurable benefits. Groups tend, however, to be self policing. They apply criteria for membership and not everyone can fit these criteria. In order to belong, it is necessary to possess certain characteristics, and those who do not are apt to be excluded. So great is the general desire for acceptance and inclusion, however, that individuals may well absorb many costs – both literal and metaphorical – in their efforts to meet the standards of their particular group and of society at large.
The introduction focuses on the key idea of the prompt: the relationship between the individual and the group.
First Paragraph Topic Sentence
At the simplest level, living in mainstream society exacts material costs.
Textual evidence from Witness: the “plain” lifestyle of the Amish contrasts with the demands of American mainstream consumer culture.
The topic sentence identifies one of the costs to the individual in belonging to a group: material expenses. Second Paragraph Topic Sentence
Living in society also implies an obligation to abide the rule of law, at whatever cost.
Textual evidence from Witness: Consider the principle of obedience to the law and the difficulties that arise when the body charged with law enforcement (the police force) is, itself, corrupt.
The topic sentence identifies a further cost suffered by individuals in belonging to a group: legal constraints. Third Paragraph Topic Sentence
More pervasive still is the need to observe those social codes that entail obedience to broad community standards that are not a matter of individual choice.
Textual evidence from Witness: Amish people are obligated to abide by the Ordnung, or rule, of their particular community. The topic sentence identifies a further cost suffered by individuals in belonging to a group: conformity.
Fourth Paragraph Topic Sentence
In some cases, the costs of conforming to the expectations of a social group may involve denying or surrendering the very qualities that lie at the heart of the individual.
Textual evidence from Witness: Amish people face ostracism – “Shunning” – if they do not follow their community’s Ordnung. For this reason, they may sacrifice their emotional needs – As Rachel seemingly does – in order to retain contact with their social unit. The topic sentence identifies a further cost suffered by individuals in belonging to a group: denial of individuality
To belong or not to belong is not really a question for most people. The urge to find support and security within some form of group (social, familial or cultural) is, for the majority, a deep-rooted impulse. In seeking to satisfy this impulse, however, the individual is inevitably forced to make numerous compromises. These may be at the relatively uncomplicated level of meeting material or legal requirements, or they may reach further into issues of conformity with codes of behaviour alien or antithetical to the individual. Whatever the case may be, belonging to a group invariably comes at a personal cost.
The conclusion sums up and restates the main ideas of the essay. Example of An Expository Essay #2
Prompt: you need to belong to a group to have a sense of identity.
Establish a response to the prompt. Explore and explain what the prompt means. Consider key words in the prompt. Avoid using definitions. Discuss the prompt in a general manner. You may devise a ‘hook’ or ‘attention grabber’ e.g.: commence with a renowned quote, cliché, use a shocking statistic or thought provoking fact. Try to make the introduction interesting and engaging. Do not mention any texts in the introduction.
Each paragraph should adopt the following TEEL structure. The majority of the paragraph should be exploration of the point being made in that paragraph. Topic Sentence: A sentence that explains/ summarises what will be argued/discussed in that paragraph. Exploration: General discussion of the key point. This should take up a large proportion of the paragraph – 70% of the paragraph can be discussion of ideas. Evidence: Discuss an example from the core text, as well as relevant examples from supplementary texts or personal experience. Use quotes from the text to support what you are saying. This evidence should assist in your exploration of the point. It does not need to be a detailed explanation. 30% of the paragraph can be on evidence from texts. Link: link your discussion back to the prompt.
Topic Sentence: Cultural, social and religious beliefs often define the groups that people belong to. Exploration: Religious beliefs specifically are a common barrier faced by many new Australian citizens. History has shown that from the Crusades to the recent War on Terror, religion is often a source of tension resulting in some minority groups finding it extremely difficult to be accepted in their new country of residence by the wider Australian community. For young Muslims the social stereotype of their people as Islamic extremists who support terrorism often confuses their identity and their sense of belonging and place in their new homeland. Evidence: in the text Ten Things I Hate About Me, a young girl anglicises her name and revamps her appearance as she’d “rather not deal with people wondering if I keep a picture of Osama Bin Laden in the shape of a love heart under my pillow”. Jamilah does not “have the courage to be up front about who I am” because of her religion and her need to be socially accepted by her peers. Link: Religion can offer a strong sense of identity but it can also harm one’s self perception as many young teenagers feel the need to be accepted by the majority of the group before they can be comfortable with who they really are.
As you are writing to inform and explain rather than mount a persuasive argument, your conclusion does not need to be a s strong or as emphatic as it would be in an argumentative or persuasive essay. Your should summarise your discussion of the prompt and leave the reader with a thought provoking statement.
Other points to remember
Your essay should be written in the third person.
Organise your ideas logically and carefully as clarity is important. Use the core text as a springboard for your ideas. This response is an open discussion of HOW the context operates not only in the world(s) of the text but also in the external world that we live in. This is not a text response or a comparative essay and should not be read or structured as such.