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What is Exposition Writing

12.4 Sample Exposition Assignments

Here are some sample assignments to prepare you for a real exposition paper or essay. Remember that your audience has very little previous knowledge of your topic!

Sample Assignments

  • Write an informative exposition essay the importance of Ernest Hemingway’s experiences in one of his short stories.
  • Compose a descriptive exposition essay of important twentieth century art work.
  • Type an analytical exposition essay that analyzes just how effective your laptop computer is and is not.
  • You can also use other subjects to write about, such as an important book, art work, technical innovation, historical incident or even scientific breakthrough.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, Lansing Community College chose “The Hate U Give” as the “One Book, One LCC” college read. Many instructors used the book as the basis for a writing assignment. The following were some of the prompts offered:

Choose ONE of the following prompt questions for you essay. Your thesis should directly answer the first question posed for each prompt.

  1. As Starr and Khalil listen to Tupac, Khalil explains what Tupac said “Thug Life” meant. Discuss the meaning of the term “Thug Life” as an acronym and why the author might have chosen part of this as the title of the book. Discuss three or four examples of hateful discourse in our society today and/or from the book. Provide sources for these examples. (Chapter 1, p. 21)
  2. Chapter 2 begins with Starr flashing back to two talks her parents had with her when she was young. One was about sex (“the usual birds and bees”). The second was about what precautions to take when encountering a police officer (Chapter 2, p. 24). Have you had a similar conversation about what to do when stopped by the police? In an essay, provide three or four reasons why you believe cops have a right to stop anyone they chose OR why you believe black males are unfairly and disproportionately more likely to be stopped, arrested, and injured or killed by the police.
  3. Family provides a thematic element to this story that is rich and complex. Starr has a family that is, to say the least, complicated in its connections and broad in its inclusivity. Where are the boundaries of the family? How do you think Starr would define family? What about Seven? How do you define it? In an essay, provide three or four reasons why you believe Starr’s family is either strong or weak in the face of such an event. OR, in an essay, analyze how the book explores the definition of family. Who is and is not family particularly in a community where people know each other? Again, give three or examples from book, other sources, or your experience to support your answer.
  4. Chris and Starr have a breakthrough in their relationship – Starr admits to him that she was in the car with Khalil and shares the memories of Natasha’s murder (Chapter 17, pp. 296–301). Discuss why Starr’s admission and releasing of this burden to Chris is significant. Explore the practice of “code switching” and discuss how you might code switch in different circumstances in your own life. In an essay, provide three or four reasons everyone, especially young people, “code-switch” in modern American society.
  5. How and why does the neighborhood react to the grand jury’s decision (Chapter 23)? How does Starr use her voice as a weapon, and why does she feel that it is vital that she does? Refer back to “Thug Life” and discuss how the acronym resonates in this chapter. Give three or four reasons for your answer. Consider using examples from recent history when individuals have used their voice to promote that was either good or bad.
  6. In what ways does Starr cope with the tragedy of Khalil’s death? How do these coping techniques reflect the influences on her life such as family, friends, and media? Provide three or four techniques provided in the book. Also, consider researching this concept.
  7. What insights does this novel generate concerning the national debate over police brutality and racial profiling? Does it open new perspectives or explain any inconsistencies? Given what examples of police brutality exist, what changes could impact the frequency of police brutality as it’s depicted in the novel? Provide 3 to 4 reasons for you answer.
  8. How does Hailey respond to Starr’s struggle over Khalil’s death? Is this a reflection of society or white privilege as a whole, or can the influence of Hailey’s personality be teased out of the way she reacts? What can the character of Hailey tell us about resistance to the Black Lives Matters movement and growing membership in white nationalism? Provide three to four reasons.
  9. “The Hate U Give” is ultimately a work of fiction directed toward young adults. The novel uses a very young character suddenly forced to carry the burden of a social issue created by generations preceding her. In an essay, provide 3 or 4 reasons you believe this books does or does not accurately portray the issue of police brutality.
  10. Solve the problem. The media, bloggers, conspiracy theorists, social critics, editorialists, talk show hosts and seemingly everyone else talks incessantly about the problems like police brutality. Talk does nothing to address the simple issue embedded in this books: people are afraid of police, and police are afraid of people. Provide a solution. Try to give 3 or 4 reasons this solution will make people less afraid of police, and police less afraid of people.

The following are examples of analytical essays written for this assignment. Read through each and then assign a grade for each essay using a 4.0 scale.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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