FRESHMAN EXPOSITORY PARAGRAPH SAMPLE
The Road to Experience
(Transition + TS) In Eugenia Collier's short story "Marigolds,"
Lizabeth gains a new awareness of compassion. (Trans. + MS 1)
Early in the story, Lizabeth is a self-centered child. (C+Q) When
she childishly taunts Miss Lottie during an attack on the old lady's
beautiful marigolds, she confesses, "I lost my head entirely"
(7). (Analysis) As a child, Lizabeth does not think of the
consequences of her actions or the effect of her outburst on Miss
Lottie. Instead, she acts on impulse, as one without experience
is apt to do. Because Lizabeth has no experience of cruelty and
believes selfishness is the only form of contentment, she has no
compassion. Hence, Lizabeth's taunting of Miss Lottie reveals her
lack of compassion. (Trans. + MS 2) Suddenly, however, she
understands the extent of the damage she has done. (C+Q) In
Lizabeth's eyes, Miss Lottie transforms from a witch to a "broken old
woman" who had "dared to create beauty" in her poverty-stricken
surroundings (9). (Analysis) After Lizabeth returns to completely
demolish the marigolds, she sees Miss Lottie in this new light.
For the first time Lizabeth feels shame and remorse for her
actions. (Trans. + MS 3) Finally, Lizabeth feels for someone else
for the first time. (C+Q) When she exchanges her ignorance for
compassion, she can only stand and face Miss Lottie and look "beyond
myself and into the depths of another human being (11).
(Analysis) Due to the haggard look on Miss Lottie's face, Lizabeth
realizes that another human being suffers, that all people suffer. From
this new insight, she gains empathy. (Trans. + CS) In conclusion,
Lizabeth illustrates one of life's greatest gains and losses as she
moves from childhood innocence to adult reality.