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  1. Let's Write an Introduction Austin English 11

  2. The Introduction • The introduction is the most crucial part of an essay for the reader. A good introduction pulls the reader in and makes him want to keep reading. As a result of this pressure, writers often find it difficult to compose a successful introduction paragraph. By following a few simple steps, the writing process becomes much easier. A well-written introduction should include the following three elements: an attention getter, a brief overview of the subject matter, and a thesis statement.

  3. STEP 1 • Take a moment to think about your subject matter. What first interested you about this subject? Use this as a starting point for composing your attention getter. Consider if there is an interesting fact, statistic, or reference to a current event that you can use to gain readers' attention. The attention getter needs to welcome your reader to the essay and pique his interest.

  4. Step 2 meat • Support your attention getter with background information. The "meat" of your introduction paragraph should consist of facts and information that the reader needs before continuing on to the rest of your essay. Here you also need to convince your audience that the topic you address is important. For example, if you were writing about the African rain forests, you would need to tell your reader why their existence is important and what benefits they offer humankind.

  5. Step 3 • Compose your thesis sentence. A thesis sentence acts as a road map for your reader. It should connect to the information you have already given and state the goal of your essay. What is your essay attempting to prove? Rather than being a fact or a description, like your earlier sentences, a thesis sentence generally takes a stance on an issue. The thesis sentence should be a statement you can confirm and support with the essay's body paragraphs. Below is an example: • "Whether through character foils or the fantastic duplication of a character, Fyodor Dostoevsky utilized the double to explore the human psyche and give depth to the tribulations of his protagonists."

  6. Steps 4 and 5 • Continue to write the rest of your paper, keeping an eye on your thesis and how each point in your essay supports that statement. 5. Reread your introduction paragraph in light of the essay you have now composed. Does your introduction relate to the information you convey in the rest of the work? Is your thesis sentence properly supported? Or, have you found that while writing, some of your ideas changed? If so, edit your introduction to reflect those changes.

  7. Writing a Thesis for a Compare/Contrast Essay • No matter what your major, as a college student you will most likely have to take English literature and composition classes and write a compare contrast essay. Many students get nervous when their professors ask them to write an essay about the similarities and/or differences between two or more texts or ideas, especially when writing the thesis for the essay; however, writing a thesis for a compare contrast essay is not as difficult as you may think.Here are some general guidelines and examples for how to write a thesis statement for a compare contrast essay.

  8. Number 1 • When writing a compare and contrast thesis statement, read the assignment sheet, and make sure to follow the professor's instructions. Each professor usually has his or her own idiosyncrasies, so underline everything the professor expects you to include in the thesis. While writing the thesis, refer back to the underlined notes.

  9. Number 2 • To write a compare and contrast thesis, make a list of similarities and differences between the texts, ideas, people, or events.

  10. Number 3 • Narrow down similarities and differences to specific ideas to avoid writing a compare and contrast thesis that is too broad.For example the compare contrast thesis, The media depict people in different roles compared to the realities of the general population, is too general.

  11. Number 4 • One way to start a compare and contrast thesis is by using words like whereas, while, even though, and although to suggest a contrasting element will follow. • For example: Although the media depict most women as housewives and stay-at-home mothers, in reality many women work full time and put their children in daycare.

  12. Number 5 • Make sure the thesis for a compare and contrast essay compares and contrasts two or more ideas. One of the most common basic ways to write a thesis statement for a compare contrast essay is as follows: • While "first author's name" story "first author's story title," underscores themes of "A," "B," and "C" and "second author's name" story, "second author's title" reveals themes of "D," "E," and "F," it is apparent by juxtaposing these two texts that (make statement about what readers learn by comparing and contrasting the two texts in the context of their themes). For example, write a compare and contrast thesis as follows:

  13. An Example • While Jane Austin's novel "Pride and Prejudice" underscores themes of pride, prejudice and women and marriage, and Mary Shelly's story "Frankenstein" reveals themes of madness, the sublime, and justice, it is apparent by juxtaposing these two novels that most women during the early nineteenth century felt trapped in a patriarchal society that restricted the roles of women, especially in marriage.

  14. Number 6 • Keep in mind it is also possible to compare contrast fewer ideas and concepts. • For example: While Morrison’s novel underscores the theme of self-loathing by the main characters, Faulkner's story elucidates the theme of patriarchal supremacy.

  15. Number 7 • For texts or ideas that have mostly similar meanings, use the following basic compare contrast thesis: Whereas "author's names" in "names of both works" both use similar themes of "A" and "B to underscore the meaning of "C," each author also uses themes such as "D" and "E" to augment the ideas of "F." For example, here is a suggested compare and contrast thesis: • While both Toni Morrison in "The Bluest Eye" and William Faulkner in "Light in August" use themes of racism and oppression to underscore the effects of post-slavery America, the different settings and eras in each novel suggest that oppression and inequality had changed very little in the United States from Faulkner's post civil war years to Morrison's civil rights' era one hundred years later.

  16. Just So You Know • While many professors suggest using themes to compare and contrast ideas, it's also important to be familiar with other literary devices for compare and contrast essays. Use a variety of rhetorical devices such as allegory, characterization, climax, symbolism, foreshadowing, figurative language, simile, imagery, irony, metaphor, motifs, personification, tone, and others to write a thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay.

  17. Tips & Warnings • Unless your professor states otherwise, place the thesis as the last sentence of the first paragraph. • Most colleges and universities have writing centers where tutors help students with essays. • Don't wait until the last minute to write your paper. • Keep in mind that writing is a process; most of the time it takes many drafts to write an excellent essay. • Most English classes use the Modern Language Association (MLA) for formatting. • For MLA formatting make sure to underline or italicize titles of books. Use quotes around short stories and poetry.

  18. Things NOT to do in an introductory paragraph: • Apologize. Never suggest that you don't know what you're talking about or that you're not enough of an expert in this matter that your opinion would matter. Your reader will quickly turn to something else. Avoid phrases like the following: • In my [humble] opinion . . .I'm not sure about this, but . . .

  19. Things NOT to do in an introductory paragraph: • Announce your intentions. Do not flatly announce what you are about to do in an essay. • In this paper I will . . . The purpose of this essay is to . . . • Get into the topic and let your reader perceive your purpose in the topic sentence of your beginning paragraph.

  20. Things NOT to do in an introductory paragraph: • Use a dictionary or encyclopedia definition. • According to Merriam-Webster's WWWebster Dictionary,a widget is . . . • Although definitions are extremely useful and it might serve your purpose to devise your own definition(s) later in the essay, you want to avoid using this hackneyed beginning to an essay.

  21. Things NOT to do in an introductory paragraph: • Dilly-dally. Get to it. Move confidently into your essay. Many writers find it useful to write a warm-up paragraph (or two, even) to get them into the essay, to sharpen their own idea of what they're up to, and then they go back and delete the running start.

  22. Essay on the Archetype of a Journey – The Introduction • 1. Write an attention getter. Read the prompt for an idea (journey or path of life quote would be good). • EX. Author Ursula K. LeGuin has said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

  23. Her quote implies that striving toward a goal or overcoming obstacles associated with a goal defines us as human beings and is more important than the goal itself. • Think about how the JOURNEY defined your characters in the three selections you read. • Phoenix Jackson – • Grandfather – • Slaves escaping oppression -

  24. Attention Getter • In a quote for the attention getter, tell • Who said the quote • What authority that person is (who is this person – an author, motivational speaker, ?? • Put the quote in quotation marks • Document the quote (the author’s {of the web page} last name or the title of the web page). Be sure to copy down all information that will go on the Works Cited page.

  25. Example • Ursula K. LeGuin, author of poetry and prose, has said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end” (“Ursula K. LeGuin Quotes”). • WORKS CITED ENTRY: • “Ursula K. LeGuin Quotes.” Brainy Quote. BookRag Media Network, 2001.

  26. Background Information • You might want to define archetype and then explain how the journey is an archetype. Archetypes can be plots, characters, settings, themes, or images. • Use information from the prompt to explain that a journey is looking for an ideal place or better land (like in “Follow the Drinking Gourd”); a failure to find or hold on to that ideal (like in “The Leader of the People”); or a questing hero, person, or people (like in “A Worn Path”).

  27. Thesis Statement • In literature the archetypical journey has been used to relate how human beings from different TIMES and CULTURES share similar problems, have similar feelings in the time of adversity, and devise similar solutions. • THINK: • PROBLEMS = “Follow the Drinking Gourd” • FEELINGS = “The Leader of the People” • SOLUTIONS = “A Worn Path”