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Does the following text qualify as expository prose? If so, what expository...

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itsneha | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 25, 2009 at 11:05 PM via web

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Does the following text qualify as expository prose? If so, what expository elements does it contains?

 

What has been this quest of man, and whither does he journey? Religion and philosophy and science have all considered these questions, and given many answers. I shall not trouble you with these answers, for the sufficient reason that I do not know most of them. But, in the main, religion has attempted to give a complete and dogmatic answer, and has often cared little for the mind, but has sought to enforce obedience to its decisions in various ways. Science gives a doubting and hesitating reply, for it is of the nature of science not to dogmatize, but to experiment and reason and rely on the mind of man. I need hardly tell you that my preferences are all for science and the methods of science.

 

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2009 at 1:15 AM (Answer #1)

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This is expository text in that it uses facts, details, opinions, and examples to persuade.  

This passage, Jawaharlal Nehru's 1932 letter to Indira Gandhi entitled "The Quest of Man, uses several rhetorical elements.  Since it is a letter, it has an informal, conversational tone, and it begins with two rhetorical questions: "What has been this quest of man, and whither does he journey?"  It presents three ways to answer this question objectively: religion, science, and philosophy.  Rather than delve into lengthy summary, Nehru says, "I shall not trouble you with these answers..." which candidly admits "I do not know most of them."  Such an admission would appeal to a familiar audience and not to a broad academic one.  It is a cordiality to summarize the broad tenets of religion and science, the two most extremes, in a brief point-counterpoint style, which lands on science.

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