Main content

Expose: The Journal of Expository Writing

Expose Header_Yellow

Expose biannually shares a selection of noteworthy personal and critical essays that are created by students in College and Expository Writing courses at Purchase College.

Fall 2021


“Words bounce. Words, if you let them, will do what they want to do and what they have to do.” ― Anne Carson 

This past summer, we felt the movement back toward more familiar routines, only for them to change again. Yet, even as aspects of our collective reality remain static, I believe we are moving within, unearthing new reserves of strength and new thresholds of renewal. Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham refers to the “life force” within us. She also said, “Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away, unnoticed and unused.”

The essays in this issue capture exact moments when something moved within each writer, toward flashes of insight that affirm we are alive and present with our own humanity even when the world remains unpredictable. Some transformations, for Jay Fehntrich, René Garrett, and Sun Hwa Tamashiro, occur because an educator forges a connection with a student. Claudia Pascale tests the boundaries between the real and the supernatural to discover that a cascade of “what-ifs” accompanies the pursuit of any burning question. In “Weakness,” Jaime Lazaar recognizes, “If there is no room in this world for the weak of heart, then we must simply make room. Pain is an intrinsic component of life.” For Brandon Moresta, self-actualization arrives through the act of writing, while for Kristen Benner, Gabriel Ortega, and Gabriela Santos, new self-awareness forms because a character or a work of literature compels each writer to regard their experiences in a different way. Maureen Guy and Sadye Moore take us further into the latter process, modeling close reading and analysis of two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri; the stories and their analyses also move, between what writer Jo Ann Beard refers to as “the story on the surface and the story under the surface.”

With gratitude to all contributing writers, and to Professor John Mitchell Morris, who wrote the Faculty Essay for this issue—it’s one to revisit time and again, as it reaffirms that writing and reading are interrelated, lifelong processes that necessitate time, focus, structure, support, and space; both draw out our creative and intellectual capabilities, and nurture our inner lives and critical thought process. Many thanks to the readers for this issue, Sonnel Hill Basora, who was also the first recipient of the Mary Ellen Marks Editorial Fellows Prize in the Spring of 2021,  as well as Professor Ellen Brooks, Professor Chris Konzelman, and Professor John Mitchell Morris. And, my deepest gratitude to featured artist Anna Brand, who has generously shared a body of work with us that reflects her own movement between the modalities of painting, sculpting, and wood burning. “Everything flows onward.”—Ovid

Amy Beth Wright, Editor


  • Painting of a barn loft.

    Ms. Williams

    “The doctor came in, asked me if I had recently had unprotected sex, and I had but I lied—I was weak—and no match for what was to come…” Read more

  • Hand holding a colorful ball and fabric.

    There Are Worse Things Than A Ghost Story

    “When I was eleven, I had a good friend who often lied. So naturally, I was dubious when she told me that there was a house on her street that was haunted. However, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt for three reasons…” Read more

  • Girl standing outside a tent, guitar player in background.

    Finding Security Through Uncertainty

    “My mother told me to get to know other kids by finding commonalities, and she assured me that everyone would want to be my friend. But while my mom couldn’t find a reason why anyone wouldn’t like me, doubts started swarming my thoughts. I knew I was weird, my mom didn’t….” Read more

  • Wood carving of a butterfly.

    Transformations, Self-Love

    “I realized, if I did not accept myself for who I was, then I would be living the rest of my life like this, in a constant fight, living a lie…” Read more

  • Cliff, ocean, and sunshine.


    “I would envision embarrassing situations I had previously been in, analyzing them over and over. I would think about my friends and how maybe they only tolerated me. I would think about my parents being disappointed in me, and I would ask myself if I was really making a difference in the world…” Read more

  • Tent and a person under a pastel tree.

    Analysis: ‘Mrs. Sen’s’ by Jhumpa Lahiri

    “At first glance, a glare from an elderly woman may seem innocent, but it is an example of the micro-aggressions and discrimination that minorities, especially immigrants, encounter often….” Read more

  • Wood carving of a bird in flight.

    Transformations: Rising

    “Growing up I lived with only my mom, from four to sixteen roughly. I would sometimes visit my dad and his side of the family before 2011. I’ll get into why that stopped later, but growing up I never had a house or my own room…” Read more

  • Cliffside and blue ocean.

    Comfort in Discomfort

    “Up until the age of fourteen, I had never found a fictional character that I could truly relate to. Spiderman is a possible exception, but I couldn’t realistically see myself swinging from web to web saving my hometown. On June 24, 2015 that all changed…” Read more 

  • Interior of pear shaped wood dollhouse.


    “It’s okay to be a weak person. There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to be better. To become stronger. But in our society, there is such a heavy emphasis on needing to always be strong. While those who are weak get left behind…” Read more 

  • Black, white, and orange face with pursed lips.


    “One of my earliest memories is the first day of Kindergarten. I sat alongside 24 other students in a circle and one by one each of them went around saying their names and favorite color. I practiced what I would say in my head over and over again…” Read more

  • Wood box with beading.

    Analysis: “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine”

    Throughout the story, the reader sees different characters make distinct choices to shelter Lilia from reality—through a metaphor of costumes and candy, Lahiri highlights all of the spectacles put on to celebrate Halloween, creating the perfect symbol for the conflicting ideas and chaos that ultimately surround Lilia…” Read more

Faculty Essay

  • Wooded path with autumn colors.

    Teaching Writing Process in an Age of Distractions, Speed, and Instant Gratification

    “To teach process is to teach students that writing—real, thoughtful writing—is not the midnight-race-to-the-finish-line they too often embark upon the night before an assignment is due; to teach process is to teach students that writing—like every other skill we need and value—requires discipline, patience, and care…” Read more