What is exposition?
Sometimes the simplest question is the hardest to answer. I mean, we’ve only been discussing material culture through an expository lens all semester. I should be able to dive right in with this post.
However, I don’t know that this is an easy question to answer. Just like each one of our objects, we will each have a different definition of what expository writing is. Dr. Wharton mentioned in her original post that
In general, the purpose of expository writing is to explain, inform, and describe. Its organizational structure tends to be narrative or associative. Expository writing is often found in “essays,” a form or genre that, as Lynn Z. Bloom explains, often operates as a catch-all category for the heterogenous [sic] canon of short works studied in first-year composition courses. Expository writing that describes or explains the author’s subjective experience and perception displays the markers of “expressive discourse,” that is writing through which the author develops and comes to a better understanding of her identity as a human subject in the world.
So, this post, by that definition, is expository writing (hopefully). Exposition is a result of learned or owned knowledge displayed by an individual through the mode(s) of choice in a way that helps another individual understand a topic where there was no previous knowledge. At some point, exposition requires an internalization of information by both the creator and the consumer. While exposition can include persuasive language, the purpose of exposition is to inform, to educate, or to further contribute to information that is already available.
Applying my own definition, I have personally learned a lot about material culture as a rhetorical activity through expository writing. I would not have been able to formulate the blog posts about material culture without exposition, first from Dr. Wharton to our class, and then from myself to this post. By researching this object, I learned the importance of objects in society, which differs by the person, object, and surrounding community. Where someone might have an object that holds great historical significance, another person might just have an object that is appreciated for its ornate design or its originality. My object, while its value may not be apparent, is invaluable to me, because it symbolizes all of the work I put in this semester. It represents that seemly insignificant items can teach lessons of perseverance, value, importance, and uniqueness. It may be damaged on the outside, but it’s got some chutzpah. To you, though, it’s probably just a damaged ceramic flask.