As you probably know, language can be used in a million possible ways to convey a point. “We are doing all we can to recapture Black,” said the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, this morning, “and we beg the magical community to remain calm.”. Exposition through narration is the most standard way to think about this literary device. How come? ‘Glad the age of chivalry isn’t totally dead.’. If you put her in a room with some one, up went her back like a cat’s; or she purred. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. It needs to provide enough information so the reader is comfortable in the story world but in a way that doesn’t feel as if they’re being told. One morning, after they made their porridge, Daddy Bear said, ‘Let’s go for walk in the woods until it cools.’ Mama Bear and Baby Bear liked the idea, so off they went. Rising Action/Progressive Complications 4. While Muggles have been told that Black is carrying a gun (a kind of metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other), the magical community lives in fear of a massacre like that of twelve years ago, when Black murdered thirteen people with a single curse. Not only is it important for bringing clarity to a script, but it is also vital to enhance its literary value. Too much exposition runs the risk of readers complaining that your book is boring and badly-written. “Once upon a time, there were three bears. Example: The United States military is an all-volunteer force consisting of five main branches. The word comes from the Latin language, and its literal meaning is “a showing forth.” Remembering their last meeting as he stood at the dark window, Harry had to admit he was lucky even to have reached his thirteenth birthday. But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. What does exposition mean? Moreover, exposition is widely used for academic purposes in schools, colleges, and universities. exposition synonyms, exposition pronunciation, exposition translation, English dictionary definition of exposition. Download. The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day. Authors can set up situations through a few lines of dialogue: “My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”, “But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”. There are countless examples of exposition in many great movies and one of them, which comes across particularly well, is from Star Wars. It's okay to TELL. Find the perfect editor for your next book. All of Shakespeare’s writings contain excellent exposition examples. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. Exposition definition: An exposition of an idea or theory is a detailed explanation or account of it. There was only one occupant at the moment, obviously the young English lady referred to by the conductor. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like were unreasonably derived from their tombstones. "Some of them must have got out. Your journey to becoming a master of dialogue starts here. Her gods had names, and their faces were as familiar as the faces of her parents. “Well, really, I had to, don’t you know,” said an irritable Fudge. Exposition is a literary device used to introduce background information about events, settings, characters, or other elements of a work to the audience or readers. What Is Exposition in Literature? This kind of exposition helps establish a sense of immediacy, as readers are able to experience the piece of information for themselves. ", "There was that pilot. Exposition is a crucial part of a story because it serves as the foundation for the reader to understand why something that happens is important to the characters. She was tall, slim and dark—perhaps twenty-eight years of age. The importance of exposition in literature, as well as in our practical lives, cannot be ignored. It’s saying, “Hello Reader, meet my character” or “Hello Reader, here’s that haunted house where everything is going to happen.” Exposition comprises of the choices you make, as a writer, to set the scene and initiate readers to your story. An exposition is defined as a piece of writing with facts and ideas. Exhausted by emotion, my language was more subdued than it generally was when it developed that sad theme; and mindful of Helen’s warnings against the indulgence of resentment, I infused into the narrative far less of gall and wormwood than ordinary. Through dialogue, authors can “show” the relationship between characters, instead of “telling” it: KING CLAUDIUSTake thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,And thy best graces spend it at thy will!But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,--. It is a device found in storytelling in which the writer introduces the reader to sometimes crucial and sometimes extra, background information that has some bearing on the story. He was most enamoured with the exposition demonstrated by Charlotte Bronte. — JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit (explaining Bilbo Baggins’ background). The opening lines usually begin like this: “A long time ago in a galaxy far away, far away…”. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. Climax, a Greek term meaning “ladder,” is that particular point in a narrative at which the conflict or tension hits the highest point. If the million-dollar question here is how to present information (that your characters should already know) in a natural and organic manner to new readers, conflict is the answer. — William Golding, Lord of the Flies (introducing Ralph in the book). In literature, exposition is a form of writing that explains what’s happening or has happened in the story in a very matter-of-fact way. Exposition. How to avoid 'information-dumping' in this post — and more. The opening scene in Act I of Othello shows a fierce argument between Roderigo and Iago, which helps build the interest of the audience. Backstory in literature can be conveyed through dialogue, characters’ thoughts or point of view, narration, flashbacks, description of the setting, or … — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (establishing Nick Carraway’s roots). This post will help you define just what exposition is — and how you can write it in a way that captures readers’ attentions. There were hisses here and there among the audience. There was a Daddy Bear, who was very big, a Mama Bear, who was middle-sized, and a Baby Bear, who was very small. If you need a helping hand as you're fixing the exposition of your novel, consider taking this free course that's taught by Fictionary CEO Kristina Stanley. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. It is a structural part of a plot, and is at times referred to as a “crisis.”It is a decisive moment or a turning point in a storyline at which the rising action turns around into a … You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil. She was of the Faith, like her father and grandfather and his father before him. In "Little Red Riding Hood," we need to know that our main character is a girl on her way to visit her ill grandmother, who lives in the woods. Copyright © 2021 Literary Devices. To understand what exposition is, look at how the writer sets the scene for the story … So here’s the first thing to understand about handling the exposition of a story: a reader is primarily interested in the story itself… Yes, they want to find out about the inner workings of … Search for: Modes of Exposition. Among these 35 popular book genres, there's bound to be one that fits your book like a glove — so let's find it! He was old enough, twelve years and a few months, to have lost the prominent tummy of childhood and not yet old enough for adolescence to have made him awkward. What's more, there's no need to get it perfect the first time around. ), a protagonist’s thoughts, or a narrator’s explanation of past events. Douglas Adams takes this approach to exposition, for example, in his quirky, comedy sci-fi classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979). Exposition is a comprehensive description or explanation to get across an idea. Narrative exposition is the insertion of background information within a story or narrative. Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye (1988) tells the story of an artist, Elaine Risley. For a look at how authors have approached writing exposition in literature in the past, here are 19 exposition examples from famous works. It might be tempting to spill everything you know about the world and characters that you’ve lovingly created — but while you might know the world of your book down to the precise direction in which a blade of grass grows, readers won’t care if it’s not relevant to the story. As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. And let’s face it — who’d believe him if he did?”. > Perfecting your Craft Elaine returns to her childhood stomping grounds in Toronto at the start of the book, for a retrospective … Lastly, a first-person narrator can easily slip in exposition to establish key details about themselves or their story: Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom and me found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich. With the help of a single passage, the author of the story has given us an overview of the bear family, their residence, and information that sets the story in motion. Learn how to write a graphic novel that readers will want to read (and illustrators will want to illustrate). Exposition shown through internal monologue can establish key expository details while advancing character development, as we can now see into the character’s mind: The elevator doors close just as Luisa Rey reaches them, but the unseen occupant jams them with his cane. Take heed as you explore this technique yourself: exposition through narration is the biggest perpetrator of the infamous “information dump,” which is a beginner mistake to avoid. Exposition needs to feel seamless. Blog — George Orwell, 1984 (explaining who Emmanuel Goldstein is). Don't listen to the literary hall-monitors who insist that you have to "show" every single bit of everything in a story; they haven't written anything worth reading and don't know what they're talking about. Over 500,000 authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them. It explicates Iago’s treacherous, spiteful, and scheming nature. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. That's what editing is for! KING CLAUDIUSHow is it that the clouds still hang on you? Newspaper clippings allow readers to read a key piece of information for themselves: Harry held the paper up to the candlelight and read: Sirius Black, possibly the most infamous prisoner ever to be held in Azkaban fortress, is still eluding capture, the Ministry of Magic confirmed today. In particular, exposition through dialogue is a prime example of the #1 writing rule, “Show, don’t tell.” Instead of telling readers the key detail that a group of boys are stranded on an island because of a plane crash, the author can show that through a conversation (as you’ll be able to see soon). Exposition is a literary device used to introduce background information about events, settings, characters, or other elements of a work to the audience or readers. Crisis 5. Fudge has been criticized by some members of the International Federation of Warlocks for informing the Muggle Prime Minister of the crisis. — Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (setting the grounds for Fanny Price’s arrival at Mansfield Park). ... literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. Exposition is the first part of the plot sequence in a story. When your reader can relate to your characters, this gives you a better chance of keeping their attention until the end of your book, and even becoming … This is where you give important information that will give your reader better insight and help to move your story forward. Exposition is a literary device that introduces key background information to the reader. The characters face the primary conflict in the story. Exposition is a literary device that is meant to relay background information about a main character, setting, event or other element of the narrative. The fiction books, articles, and magazines that people read in their everyday lives essentially rely on exposition to connect the readers to the main story by giving them the background information. Remember when Kurt Vonnegut said that a sentence ought to do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action? Climax 6. He had run away with Desdemona, Brabantio’s daughter. At The Write Practice, we talk about the six elements that make up dramatic structure. It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up. A brief look at the important details of EXPOSITION in a plot structure. In plays, dramatic exposition is usually found in the opening scenes and can be expressed through character dialogue, flashbacks, thoughts or the narrator giving … Module 3: Writing About Literature. | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples — David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (establishing the character of Luisa Rey). And it's free to use. I resolved, in the depth of my heart, that I would be most moderate—most correct; and, having reflected a few minutes in order to arrange coherently what I had to say, I told her all the story of my sad childhood. Exposition. The famous children’s story entitled The Three Little Bears applies this technique of exposition. While they were away, a little girl named Goldilocks came walking through the forest and smelled the porridge…”. Exposition in literature is a writer’s way to give background information to the audience about the characters and setting of the story. In the top left of the flag there is a field of blue with fifty stars, one for each state. When you're writing your novel, remember that the exposition is just one part of a much bigger whole. The exposition in this scene plays the following roles: At the end of Act 1, the play gives the audience a few facts about Othello, including: As is evident from the examples given above, exposition always gives us an insight into the characters’ personalities, and adds flavor to the tragedy and drama we see towards the end of the play. Exposition is simply information for the audience’s benefit. The audience realizes that Iago is persistently trying to convince Roderigo to be his accomplice in destroying Othello. Exposition is the background material a reader needs to know for the story to move forward. On Exposition in Literature. He rather liked the severe regularity of her features and the delicate pallor of her skin. — J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (explaining the events of past books in the series). We got six thousand dollars apiece—all gold. Examples of Literary Exposition: In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”, the reader is introduced to the characters Montresor and Fortunato. About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. The exposition phase of a story consists of three main elements: characters, setting and mood. You can share a characters’ outlook in a paragraph rather than a whole scene. They had been murdered, murdered by the most feared Dark wizard for a hundred years, Lord Voldemort. The word comes from the Latin language, and its literal meaning is “a showing forth.” Exposition is crucial to any story, for without it nothing makes sense. At least I think it's an island. Let’s take a look at how an omniscient narrator (who knows everything and can see into every character’s minds) might handle exposition: This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. “You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”, “Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”, — Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (establishing the entrance of Mr. Bingley to Netherfield), "This is an island. Well, exposition through internal monologue is particularly useful for the former, as we’ll show you now. Exposition is a little like description. Though exposition is necessary for nearly every single story, it’s a hard thing to get right. Logic, facts, and examples support a thesis or main clam. Exposition in narration is often as useful as showing, however. In the exposition, the author introduces the major characters, establishes the setting and reveals major conflicts in the story. Barely alive, Voldemort had fled…. — Shakespeare, Hamlet (establishing the relationship between Hamlet and King Claudius). Mom pulled into the circular driveway behind the church at 4:56. Exposition is an essential part of any screenplay. So I went back. Exposition is a literary term that deals with how to start a story. 'I must endeavour to emulate this writing style' he implored himself hopefully. How to use exposition in a sentence. Because when you stop to describe something or explainsomething, the action stops. “Black is mad. In science fiction, and medical and forensic fiction, detailed explanations of processes and their relevance to the plot is expected as part of the … Learning how to write good exposition is a key step in learning how to write a screenplay. He’s a danger to anyone who crosses him, magic or Muggle. They are: 1. Module 3: Writing About Literature. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Specifically, the conflict. But it’s a tricky line to walk: too little exposition and your audience won’t understand a thing about what’s happening. How to use exposition in a sentence. a systematic, usually written statement about, commentary on, or explanation of a specific subject the act of expounding or setting forth information or a viewpoint a large public exhibition, esp of industrial products or arts and crafts the act of exposing or the state of being exposed In this article, I’ll define exposition, talk about how it fits into the dramatic structure, give examples of expositions from popular novels, plays, and films, and then give a few tips on how to use the exposition best in your writing. The fair boy was peering at the reef through screwed-up eyes. Perhaps there aren't any grownups anywhere. Exposition is introducing your reader to your story. The true essence of a book usually lies in how the reader is introduced to the characters in it and, if done correctly, the reader automatically starts relating to them. This might include anything from a character’s backstory to a description of the setting. — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (establishing the state of Jane Eyre’s childhood). Dialogue is one of the most organic ways to introduce exposition. Learn more! "All them other kids," the fat boy went on. Leave your thoughts in the comments! The contraption was necessary because my lungs sucked at being lungs. Martin, Game of Thrones (establishing Catelyn Stark’s backstory and religious tendencies), Of all the unusual things about Harry, this scar was the most extraordinary of all. Exposition is a literary term that introduces necessary information about events, setting, characters, and other elements that are necessary to an audience’s ability to fully comprehend a story. Think of exposition as “ The novel opens with setting exposition, creating a mundane impression of the protagonist Arthur Dent’s ordinary life: The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the … The Writer's Writing Guide: Exposition Previous chapter Next chapter Table of contents. What are some exposition examples in literature? Exposition is used in literature to introduce the reader to the characters and setting of the story being told. — John Green, Fault in Our Stars (explaining why Hazel Lancaster needs a tank at all times). A type of essay or composition offering information on a topic, concept, process, or issue. Here, two examples from Othello have been taken to elaborate the point. The greater the conflict, the less visible the exposition. In his book, The Art of Fiction, essayist and author John Gardner advised, “No important information in the exposition should be irrelevant to the action that ensues.” John Yorke echoed a similar point in Into the Woods: How Stories Work And Why We Tell Them: All good exposition is disguised by making it dramatic – by injecting conflict. That's a reef out in the sea. Exposition may present background information of the plot or characters, explain details about the setting , convey a sense of the historical context, and so on. Worship was a septon with a censer, the smell of incense, a seven-sided crystal alive with light, voices raised in song. Exposition locates readers in the world of the story: it establishes the \"who, what, where, when,\" and sometimes \"why\" of a plot Exposition definition is - a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing). HAMLET[Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind. Her only gift was knowing people almost by instinct, she thought, walking on. In this post, we'll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about this literary archetype: from its ancient origins, to the characteristics of a tragic hero, to examples of heroes and heroines from literature. What makes a tragic hero, tragic? It's a natural part of human communication, to inform simply and summarize information -- including the form of human communication known as the story. This exposition definition applies directly to … Now, how the exposition is revealed might differ depending on the point of view used in the book, which you’ll see in the following exposition examples. Reedsy is more than just a blog. Become a member today to discover how we can help you publish a beautiful book. Luckily, there are many ways to do this, from dialogue to narration. That said, authors generally depend on a few common ways to insert exposition into the text of the story: Without further ado, let’s get into these exposition examples in famous works of literature. Search for: Modes of Exposition. It is one of the four rhetorical modes of communication – the other three being narration, description, and argumentation. Exposition in narration is often as useful as showing, however. 19 exposition examples from Pride and Prejudice (and more) to show you how to get exposition right. Harry had escaped from the same attack with nothing more than a scar on his forehead, where Voldemort’s curse, instead of killing him, had rebounded upon its originator. They must have, mustn't they? It allows a deeper connection between the reader and the character. But Harry had come face-to-face with him at Hogwarts. A type of essay or composition offering information on a topic, concept, process, or issue. Exposition is crucial to setting the stage, as it provides readers with essential background information like character backstories, past plot points, and historical context. Updated August 10, 2019. Their favorite breakfast was porridge. He is a great general who is sought by Venice to defend it in the war against the Turks. In literature, exposition appears in the form of expository writing embedded within the narrative. In the context of fiction, exposition is writing intended to explain something - some detail of the setting, a plot point, a character's background, or anything else that needs to be told to the reader. Exposition is a literary device used to introduce background information about events, settings, characters, or other elements of a work to the audience or readers. Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye (1988) tells the story of an artist, Elaine Risley. The most common methods of exposition for novels are the following: Prologue . Define exposition. Also, employees are asked very often to put together business reports and memorandums to update their employers about their progress. Exposition is a device used in television programs, films, literature, poetry, plays and even music. What is exposition in literature? Get started now. Denouement In dramatic structure, the exposition occurs at the beginning of the story and is meant to set up the inciting incident, which is a moment where the action kicks off in the story. Exposition also provides stakes and emotional context for the beginning of the story, supporting the rising action, the falling action, and the eventual denouement. However, there is a fine line between pulling it off smoothly and making it feel too obvious to audiences. The exposition in this movie is the opening title sequence, which gives information about the past events to the audience. Take Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Richard III, and you will see how exceptionally well he used the art of expository writing. This might include anything from a character’s backstory to a description of the setting. All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. - Contact Us - Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions, Definition and Examples of Literary Terms. ‘Thank you,’ says Luisa to the old man. Find out how long a novella, novelette, and short story are supposed to be. M. Hercule Poirot, having nothing better to do, amused himself by studying her without appearing to do so. Exposition is one of four rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse), along with description, argumentation, and It is a device used in television, films, poetry, music, and plays. Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round—more than a body could tell what to do with. If you’ve ever cringed while reading a book (or watching a movie) because the characters are clearly just repeating information for the benefit of the audience, you’ll know just why exposition in literature is so important to get right. , voices raised in song introduces key background information to the story and prepares way... Her in a story consists of three main elements: characters, setting and reveals major in. Or explainsomething, the Enemy of the Party’s purity Temple fully believed me relationship between Hamlet and king Claudius.. He will not breathe a word of Black’s true identity to anyone who crosses him, magic Muggle... Academic purposes in schools, colleges, and their faces were as familiar the!, etc eminently suitable for the story and prepares the way for upcoming events, description, less. More ) to show you how to get across an idea or theory is a comprehensive description or to. Play: racism, and examples Module 3: writing about literature prior plot events, historical context etc. Faces were as familiar as the faces of her features and the character code of a plot structure explanation! Murdered, murdered by the most standard way to give background information to the characters and are... Is — and how you can share a characters’ outlook in a structure... Showing forth.” Climax definition example: the United States military is an all-volunteer force consisting of five branches!, it’s another way through which authors can insert exposition supposed to be said in the Middle of four... Contact us - Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions, definition and examples Module:... Through dialogue to, don’t you know, language can be about the conflict, the Hobbit ( why. Of five main branches my sister, —Mrs of Shakespeare ’ s writings contain exposition in literature exposition examples lines begin! Might have guessed, it’s a hard thing to get across an idea or theory is a comprehensive description explanation. A very matter-of-fact way in learning how to write good exposition is the part of a plot the. Through which authors can insert exposition Claudius ) to convey a point and its literal is! Pip’S backstory ) and disgust steel cart to wheel it around behind me, —Mrs readers are able experience! Been taken to elaborate the point Harry Potter and the character of Luisa Rey ) opening sequence! For nearly every single story, it’s another way through which authors can insert exposition Contact! When you stop to describe something or explainsomething, the Great Gatsby ( establishing the between... Exposition here is keeping the academia updated on what you have any approach that you particularly?! 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By some members of the woods Lord ; I am too much exposition runs the risk of complaining... Exposition examples nature, the reader something so many men of large fortune in the story Harry Potter the. The reader to the reader pyramid, with examples from the Latin language, crack! A time, there 's No need to get it perfect the first time.... The text old man it shows things that happened before the story of idea. Elements: characters, setting and mood is — and more ) show. The International Federation of Warlocks for informing the Muggle Prime Minister of setting. Term that deals with how to start a story than a whole scene material reader. Simply like to see it in the war against the Turks allows a deeper between! Of hair, and short story are supposed to be said in the past events to the and. Explanation or account of it you’d simply like to see it in the past, here are 19 examples..., process, or a narrator ’ s backstory to a description of the International Federation Warlocks. Fitzgerald, the Hobbit ( explaining why Hazel Lancaster needs a tank at all )! Montresor and Fortunato through dialogue member today to discover how we can help you define just exposition! Many ways to introduce exposition in literature reader something about literature anyone who crosses him, or. Representing the 13 original States tells the story he rather liked the black! Exposition of an idea Prime Minister of the story itself excellent exposition.! S daughter Cask of Amontillado”, the smell of incense, a little girl named came! Information for themselves kill time? ” cried his wife impatiently the plane crash that the. Father 's family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sugar-hogshead again and! Emulate this writing style ' he implored himself hopefully driveway behind the church at 4:56 of literary Terms for. Two things — reveal character or advance the action cottage in the world as there are many ways to the! Literature: a Guide for all fiction writers essay or composition offering information a! Most cases, a narrative or script loses its essence if not accompanied by an exposition is insertion...