Is This an Expository Essay?

October 13, 2017
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Right now, readers may be asking themselves, “Am I reading an expository essay?” It’s a reasonable question and one that should be asked at the beginning of every reading and then promptly answered. In this instance, and I'm sure to the reader's absolute delight, it will not be promptly answered, but rather properly analyzed to a point of confirmation. To answer the question in the most accurate way possible it must be first asked “What makes something an essay?” and “What makes an essay expository”. These questions should, assumably, help us grasp a firm understanding of what one needs to be deemed an expository essay as well as allow for quite a bit of meandering on the writer's part. It must then be asked “Does this essay fit the pre-stated and agreed upon requirements in such a way that it can be considered an expository essay?” and only after these clarifications have been made can it be said with confidence whether or not this work can be considered an expository essay. On the off chance that this work does end up being able to be defined as an expository essay, however, we will need to state a thesis, as established below. Thus, this thesis will be as follows: “the piece currently under analysis, and currently being read by the previously established readers, is, in fact, an expository essay as it was made to be an expository essay exploring itself not for the purpose of understanding but of meandering and wriggling around a writing prompt” or in short, this is, at the end of the day, an expository essay.

   

To answer our question as to whether or not we are currently reading an expository essay it is absolutely necessary to know what constitutes something as an essay. The Oxford dictionary defines an essay as “A short piece of writing on a particular subject,” whilst the Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as “an analytic or interpretive literary composition usually dealing with its subject from a limited or personal point of view.” So, if throughout this work, a single topic has been kept (although because that topic still has yet to arise, the nature of this work is still under great scrutiny) then it can confidently be considered an essay. Not only does this topic have to stay constant throughout, though, it also must be the main focus of the essay without distraction. Some would argue that focus is unnecessary for something to be considered an essay and necessary only in an essay that is effective. Either way, it will be kept in mind. Why would a writer wish anything other than effectiveness in their essay? This does us a great deal in defining it as an expository essay because one cannot be an expository essay without first being an essay, it does have the word essay in its name. What’s more is that none other than Harvard University joins in on the fun saying that “...essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding.” Therefore, additionally to the necessity for consistent topic, as stated before, the current work must have the form above; in which it has an argument to make, scrutinize sources to ensure an effective argument, dispel any possible doubts through arguing the established point (using the supporting data), and finally conclude one way or the other whatever it is the essay has spent its duration analyzing. A seemingly daunting task to complete in just one set of words! But nonetheless it has been successfully completed countless times and thus it is a fair set of requirements. These requirements will become very important later on in the realization of this work, and its nature, because the previous definitions of an essay, while helpful, will be a bit too broad on structure allowing some stories to be considered ‘essays’. The last source we will look at to define an essay will be the essay scoring guide provided by the wonderful MRHHS. In this scoring guide to get a perfect score an essay must have a topic that is “narrow and specific,” have “lots of examples and or evidence to support the thesis”, have presented ideas in a logical manner, use “vivid language”, flow well, and have “few if any grammatical errors”. Upon analysis of these explanations, a more simplified definition can be described as “A formal and analytical piece of writing with a consistent and logical layout of ideas to support an overarching thesis related to a specific theme. In addition to being well laid out, the work must also use multiple body paragraphs as well as an introduction and conclusion to help the organization of ideas within the work”. The previously stated, and expertly written, definition will be the one in mind for the rest of this work when referring to an essay.
   

Secondly, what it means for an essay to be considered expository must be investigated. Obviously, an expository essay must first be an essay, as we established briefly above, in addition, however, it must also be an essay that can be defined with the adjective ‘expository’ in one way or another. The Oxford dictionary defines the word expository as “Intended to explain or describe something,” with “of, relating to, or containing exposition,” being Merriam Webster’s definition. Looking at both definitions, one could more simply define the word expository in the context of describing an essay as ‘one that pertains solely to a specific topic and aims to bring clarification to that topic either in form of answering a question or in explaining something about that topic’.  Assuming that, as a work, this has, is, and continues to fit the requirements for an essay all it must do to be ‘expository’ is aim to explain something. We are also told that an expository essay must contain “A clear thesis or controlling idea that establishes and sustains your focus. An opening paragraph that introduces the thesis. Body paragraphs that use specific evidence to illustrate your informative or analytic points. Smooth transitions that connect the ideas of adjoining paragraphs in specific, interesting ways. A conclusion that emphasizes your central idea without being repetitive.” (11 Trees) This is interesting as it lays out another very specific, and necessary, way of organizing a work similar to that of Harvard's. This specificity, while seeming to limit the exploration of essay writers, will be extremely helpful to us later on as it will be one of the main points looked at when defining this work. Finally, none other than the Derek Rowley, the 11th-grade English teacher at the ever prestigious MHRHS, has said that an expository essay is one “where the goal is to explain, describe, compare and contrast, define, or something else non-persuasive.” This only further strengthens the legitimacy of our earlier definition of expository within the context of defining an essay and therefore can say that an expository essay is “an essay that pertains solely to a specific topic and aims to bring clarification to that topic either in form of answering a question or in explaining or defining something about that topic”. This is the definition that will be considered when referring to the work the reader is currently reading (and being as lucky as they are, that is this very work) as it most sufficiently satisfies the question at hand.
   

Now that we enter something closer to the latter half of this work, and now that we have such an elegantly written and accurate definition of what can be considered an expository essay, we can begin to explore whether or not this work can be legitimately called an essay, and evermore importantly, if it can reach the title of the ever elusive expository essay. This piece started off with a very clearly stated question of whether or not the piece could be defined as an expository essay, and the first large point made within was to say that an expository essay must first be an essay. So, let us now explore whether or not our exploration thus far can be considered an essay in the hopes of beginning to bring light to the question at hand. As deemed necessary by both Harvard and MRHHS our work started off with an introduction that, although seemingly unintentionally and most likely unbeknowingly, laid out the framework of the essay. It was even so kind as to have a sentence in the introduction to introduce each paragraph thus far, stating the need to understand what an essay is, what it would mean for one to be expository, and finally that we would need to contrast those to what had been done within the work. Wouldn't you believe it? That's exactly what the piece is doing now! It then followed these up with actual body paragraphs that stayed on that specific topic for the entire paragraph, thus far we are looking in the clear to at least to be considered an essay. Now, before moving on we cannot forget the expertly explained definition of an essay that this piece produced earlier, which in and of itself deserves much praise to the writer, in saying that an essay is “A formal and analytical piece of writing with a consistent and logical layout of ideas to support an overarching thesis related to a specific theme. In addition to being well laid out, the work must also use multiple body paragraphs as well as an introduction and conclusion to help the organization of ideas within the work”. As earlier stated we have definitely kept a logical layout of ideas. In addition to this a thesis is one requirement that can be crossed off of our list of to-do’s as the piece established one very consciously saying “This thesis will be as follows: ‘the piece currently under analysis, and currently being read by the previously established readers, is, in fact, an expository essay as it was made to be an expository essay exploring itself not for the purpose of understanding but of meandering and wriggling around a writing prompt’ or in short, this is, at the end of the day, an expository essay.” at the beginning of the piece. So far other than having a conclusion, which we are still working on so we will, for now, ignore that, this piece follows all of the requirements for an essay and thus we can now call it as such.
   

Finally, we reach a moment of truth, can we describe this essay (it is no longer just a piece!) as one that is expository. Let us first recap what we have established as the necessities of an essay to be expository. Firstly it was said that according to Oxford and Merriam-Webster alike it must aim to explain something within its works. Furthermore, as established through the MR. Rowley, it must be non-persuasive. Concludingly upon analyzation of this, and more, the brilliant definition of an expository was decided as “an essay that pertains solely to a specific topic and aims to bring clarification to that topic either in form of answering a question or in explaining or defining something about that topic”. So, throughout this essay, we have, in fact, aimed to explain a quiet deal. To be more exact on what that has been, a comprehensive understanding of an essay and, more exactly, an expository essay has been reached through the first half-or-so and now through the second half we have begun explaining how this piece may or may not be an expository essay (although it seems a conclusion is close at hand). On top of this, the requirement has been met that we have been unpersuasive as much as factual in such a way that one could not argue any other standpoints on our topics, lest they wish to disagree with many prestigious sources and such an extravagantly clever writer. Not once was an argument brought up that was anything that completely and undeniably true as it was supported by facts and definitions and thus persuasion is no worry to the writer as persuasion is only necessary when room for opinion is possible, and we have doubtlessly crushed any and all of that. Finally, we have followed our definition of an expository essay in that we have  pertained solely to information relating to our topic of defining an expository essay and attempted, seemingly well, to answer a question about our topic, that question, of course, being whether or not this essay is or isn't one that is expository.
   

Upon creating our conclusion paragraph we have done it! It can now be said, as we reach the only part still possibly in question thus far in our essay, that this is not only an essay but also an expository essay. And by no small margin either. Throughout our work, every requirement was thoroughly met to qualify the piece as such even having a works cited below. It is unquestionable that both the reader and writer alike are none less than ecstatic with our conclusion and so inclined to read through a second or third time (or as many as they'd like) as the exploration of writing was so ever enjoyable and cleverly executed.

 

Works Cited
"Essay | Definition of Essay in English by Oxford Dictionaries." Oxford Dictionaries | English. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. Web.
"Essay." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web.
"Essay Scoring Guide." Itslearning. MRHHS, n.d. Web.
"Essay Structure." Writingcenter. Harvard, n.d. Web.
"Expository | Definition of Expository in English by Oxford Dictionaries." Oxford Dictionaries | English. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. Web.
Kiernan, Noah J. Is This an Expository Essay? N.p., n.d. Web.
Rowley, Derek. Letter to Noah Kiernan. 17 Sept. 2017. MS. N.p.
"Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: Essay Writing. Purdue Owl, n.d. Web.
"What Is an Expository Essay?" 11trees. 11trees, 21 July 2017. Web.






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