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Exposition is a passage in a piece of literature or a work that is used to introduce elements of the narrative, such as background information, settings, events, and characters to help the reader progress through the novel. Exposition is a way of showing or telling you what you need to know about the narrative in order to better understand what is going on or what the author wants you take away from the experience.
Scholars believe there are good and bad ways to introduce and include exposition in the story. Many writing critics frown upon exposition that is straightforward and gives you long passages of description about setting or character. In a way, this may be giving the reader too much information at once, making the reader bored, or it may ruin details that come later in the narrative.
Expositions, however, do not have to be long. In fact, we use them almost every day when we are explaining things, events, or people to someone else. We hear them over and over at family gatherings without identifying what they are. For instance, you may hear your grandma say, “You remember your uncle, Thomas. He was the one that gave you that black bicycle at your thirteenth birthday party. Well, he has moved back to town.” This is a great example of exposition. While your grandmother may be trying to tell you that your uncle moved back to town, any good listener or reader would be able to gather quick background information about your uncle to better understand the story and why your grandma is telling you this.
Looking at the grandma example, exposition does not have to strictly come from a narrator giving you boring description and narration. Characters in dialogue can give you exposition and details you may need to understand the narrative. If you are inside a character’s’ minds, you may get exposition from their internal thoughts or their monologues, talking to themselves.
Think about exposition in terms of film too. A film may open up over a landscape that slowly moves to the location of the protagonist or the opening of the action. From the opening scene, you know the location of the narrative. Perhaps the film shows a dirty city street. You would know both the location and the living conditions, or class, of the character about to be shown.
Dickens gives a good example of exposition in A Christmas Carol:
“Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.”
Dickens gives the reader a generous amount of information in these two paragraphs. We are able to understand more about Scrooge’s business and business partner from the first paragraph. We understand that Marley is dead and gone, and that the firm still has business despite Marley’s death. From the first and second paragraph we understand more about Scrooge’s character through direct description. We are directly told that Scrooge is frugal and harsh in character.
Dickens writes very direct exposition, but the exposition with other authors may not be as direct or clear. The exposition may only give you a few pieces of information at time.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use exposition worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what exposition is and how it can be used. You can use these exposition worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Exposition Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 5, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.