Tag Archives: unraveling

What is Expository Writing?

Expository writing is the process of unraveling an image through words. Whether that image is of a teapot, a campus, or the ramifications of communism on the global economy, expository writing begins with a simple premise and ends with a more complicated perspective of the subject at hand. It peers behind the clock face and details the inner-workings of the world around us.

When I first signed up for this class, to be completely honest, I was not super excited to be taking it. That is not to say that I was dreading the course by any means, but as a rhetoric and composition major, my primary focus so far had been on persuasive writing. The idea of writing pieces that were not focused on an argument seemed...trivial? I'm can't say exactly what I felt at the time--nor was it anything particularly drastic--I simply didn't think this class would be wildly enlightening. My initial perceptions could not have been more wrong.

Even just from the twitter essay project we started the semester with, I was already growing a deeper understanding for what expository writing entailed. The process of experimenting with our personal definitions of what objects are helped to open my eyes to an entire art of writing I had had little real practice or exposure to. The process of working with our artifacts to create an entire object analysis using Prounian analysis took the seeds of that understanding and gave me a true appreciation for what expository writing is.

In a sense, there are similarities between persuasive writing and expository writing. I suppose it could be argued that expository writing is a practice in persuasion of one's opinions. But expository writing does not hinge upon whether the audience is convinced by what is being said. In fact, expository writing is unique in that it seems to be much more personal in its execution. These are observations based out of personal experience rather than arguments based out of research. If a piece of expository writing does not resonate with a reader, that does not mean the piece cannot still succeed in its goals. It is invested in the process of discovery, of coming to understanding rather than applying its products in a broader lens. Expository writing lives in itself rather than the reader, and that is not something I even truly understood until the end of this semester. In a sense, this post itself is a microcosm of the practice itself: a slow unraveling in the pursuit of some unknown truths.