Exposition

I'd very much like my brain to work for me rather than against me. Part of making a functioning brain is comprehending exactly what is being said.

Let's start with a conversation from the logs:

hanbot there's various issues here, most of which stem from your good old friend mr. structural thinking.
hanbot the first hit is right at the beginning: rather than giving us a thorough exposition, you drop right into the story. this "hit the ground running" thing is fine and good and an example of what i mean by departure from your usual form
hanbot but!
hanbot look more closely, and it's kinda like..."hit the ground crawling".
hanbot the action is very slow. you're standing, waiting, a woman next to you is walking back and forth to either side of you.
hanbot if you're going to use this device, you want the impact to count. if it's important that the action is slow, then it needs to be rather evocative somehow in order to be compelling. it can't be both slow and mundane, do you understand what i mean?
nicoleci yeah i do. i didnt at the time of course but reading it with that perspective its rather boring
nicoleci can't set the stage over and over again
hanbot it's not a matter of setting the stage multiple times.
hanbot actually, let's back up. what's an exposition?

I didn't know what exposition is and I didn't ask questions to find out. Admit when you don't understand, ask, learn, and move on. Let's quote Hannah further to stress the importance of being able to speak the same language as someone you're communicating with.

hanbot well the goal here is to have you rewrite the thing with some new tools, but first we have to build the tools, and to do that we at least have to know we understand each other. listen here: you cannot continue to do this thing whereby you don't know a word, but don't say anything about it, and when asked if you understand you say yes, and then on review i discover you don't know what it means, so we can't proceed. this is how people stay ignorant. people pretend they know things that they don't in order to shield themselves from unpleasant feelings. this isn't really what we're here for. if someone introduces a foreign concept, you investigate. ask questions. in no case do you "yeah okay sure" and let us waste time proceeding on ghosts of structure.

Now then, what is an exposition and where did it come from?

Etymonline1 sourced the word exposition from the the Latin words: expoitionem (meaning explanation and interpretation), expositio (a setting or showing forth; narration, explanation), and exponere (put forth; explain; expose).

Also mentioned is that in 1851 the word was first used as a term for a public display for the Crystal Palace 'Exposition' and in 1963 the abbreviation expo first appeared.

A few other websites only listed exponere as a source for exposition and without citation.

Upon researching the actual definition of the word exposition, Merriam-Webster2 gives the following definitions for exposition:

a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing), discourse or an example of it designed to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand, the first part of a musical composition in sonata form in which the thematic material of the movement is presented, the opening section of a fugue, and a public exhibition or show.

Here is the definition that I gave: nicoleci im struggling a little bit but what i have for exposition is - the purpose of the writing that may not be easily inferred by the reader.

The definition I provided is clearly way off. I'm not sure exactly how I formed that idea in my head. Clearly, some formula of context clues and wishful thinking so that I could justify not actually looking up the word. Thinking you know something is not the same as ACTUALLY knowing.

My guess is that she asked for the meaning of exposition (at the start of our conversation), to expose if I knew the information required to understand what will follow.

Kinda like how you may need an exposition at the beginning of a piece of writing in order to make sense of the story that's being told. What do you think? Am I way off? It wouldn't be the first time.

  1. I found that etymonline is seemingly reputable and cites its sources. I'm interested if anyone has found a better site for the etymology of words. []
  2. Sometime in July 2019 lexico.com replaced oxford dictionary and dictionary.com by merging them into one. []

3 Responses to “Exposition”

  1. I'm interested if anyone has found a better site for the etymology of words.

    Yeah, I've also been searching for an additional resource like etymonline.com but to no avail. I've been considering just buying a dead tree etymological dictionary or two (gutenberg.org does seem to have a handful of free ones, however).

    • nicoleci says:

      Ah thanks for the tip for gutenberg. Yah, I think paper text is the only way to go for any reference material. Much more enjoyable to read without adds plastered from top to bottom too.

  2. [...] Bimbo Club « Exposition [...]

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