Education

Prose An Overview Analysis Of Exposition

Prose needs to be defined first of all. According to most dictionaries and literature resources, prose is the ordinary form of written language which is not poetry, drama, or song. Prose is one of the major genres of literature that occurs in two forms: fiction and non-fiction. Prose expresses thought through language recorded in sentences and paragraphs.
Note that prose includes fiction (short stories, novels) and non-fiction (articles, essays, journals, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs). It does not include poetry, drama, or lyrics, which are genres in themselves. Non-fiction prose can be divided into three kinds: narration, description, and exposition.
Most scholastic reading and writing is expository, explaining. In general such writing answers the questions how and why. Many news articles are also expository. Essays are often expository as are business letters, doctors’ case studies, lawyers’ briefs, engineers’ reports, and text books.
Therefore, how do we know what is exposition and what is not? If the result of the writing is to tell a story, to tell what happened, then the writing is considered narrative, arranged in time. The need to re-create something in words becomes description, arranged in space.
Writers organize exposition by logic, appealing to the reader’s reason by using evidence and logic, even if also appealing to the reader’s emotion. Exposition explains the nature of an item, idea, or a theme using (singularly or in combination) identification, definition, classification, illustration, comparison and contrast, and/or analysis.
As with all types of writing, exposition must be organized and well supported. One writer may organize from the most important point to the least important (as found in articles for newspapers and magazines). Another may organize from the least important to the most important (found often in speeches). One organizational method is to place points in order of occurrence (such as directions). Another organizational process could be pro and con.
An expository writing should be logical and supported with examples, facts, statistics, and/or illustrations. Each point has to be shown to be reasonable and understandable. Even if emotional aspects are included, the emotion should be based on supported ideas.
Ways of organizing and supporting points in an exposition are covered in others articles since each is a topic of its own. The main idea, first and foremost, is to know what prose is and isn’t and that exposition has to be organized and supported.
Sources:
1. Writing Prose: Techniques and Purposes, Oxford University Press.
2. Notes and lesson plans by Vivian Zabel

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