Expository essay tricks: presenting a balanced analysis of a topic


Expository (from the word ‘expose’) means to dissect an essay and explain every part of it. Your professor will expect you to give a very detailed analysis of a literary work, often one that you are able to choose yourself. Once you’ve chosen your topic—or after it’s been chosen for you—you will be able to provide a balanced approach to explaining it. Here’s a step by step way of doing this:

Define your topic piece by piece

Taking every sentence and scrutinizing every word, give a detailed explanation of each individual key point. Wherever possible, define the literature word for word, but make sure it is in context with what the sentence means. Sometimes words don’t mean anything on their own, but the sentences do. In cases like these, explain the sentence in a way that is relevant to the literature.


Using illustrative language

A good way to effectively explain a point is to liken it to something else. Use an easy to understand example to illustrate something you’re trying to convey. Try and pick your analogies very carefully when doing this. You want to deep the illustration alive as long as you can so as to give the reader insight into what you are saying.


Develop your topic

Don’t stop at defining. Take it a step further with a chain effect approach to your topic. Show the reader the base of your argument, the method of coming to your conclusion, and the implications of what you have proved. Make sure your sentences flow well together when you do this. Let each point lead on from the last until the reader has a good overall understanding of the whole process.


Elaborate on your process

Conclude your essay by highlighting your methodology. It’s always a good idea to make sure the reader is convinced that your method was conducted in the right way. Make your process the theme of your essay and drive it home so that the reader is persuaded of your point of view.


Side note: Using quotes

Professors will advise you to be careful of using too many quotes in your academic writing, but in the expository essay it’s actually encouraged. Giving someone else’s perspective on your topic will lend your own writing a lot of support which will strengthen your analysis. Use these throughout your essay, but make sure they are well spread out.

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