Writing the Essay Introductions
Roles of the Introduction • Catch the reader’s attention • Introduce reader to topic • Start out general and get more specific with each sentence • Includes thesis statement • The one sentence that states position of essay • must be the last sentence of intro
Types of Attention Getting Devices • Incident or Example • Anecdote • Quotation (remember to cite source) • Startling statement • Analogy • Definition--- BORING • Description
Thesis Statement • Explains purpose of essay and clearly defines topics to be discussed in body paragraphs • Traits and relationships • One sentence- make opinion clear • Ex: A healthy enemy relationship is equally matched and challenging. • 1st body paragraph- Equally matched • 2nd body paragraph- challenging
Important note- Attention-getter • You absolutely may NOT use a question as an attention-getter. • That was okay in middle school, but is informal and immature now.
Introduction Example • The famous philosopher Ovid once said that “We can learn, even from our enemies.” In fact, it is often one’s enemies that force a person to overcome a difficult challenge. Sometimes, only because a person faces an enemy does he/she realize his/her fullest potential. For example, if Harry Potter had never been challenged by Lord Voledemort, Potter would have never realized how talented of a wizard he really is. This stimulating aspect of a relationship between enemies is what makes their relationship important. Likewise, in the short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” the characters Rainsford and Zaroff are good enemies for each other, since they each push the other to perfect their hunting skills. In “The Most Dangerous Game,” Rainsford, a well-known hunter, is put to the test by Zaroff, a man of more years of experience than Rainsford. After telling Rainsford that he will be the quarry, Zaroff arms Rainsford with only a knife as a weapon, and gives him three days in the jungle to fend off his attacks. Rainsford’s intellect, shrewdness, and composure are tested through their three-day battle of wits. In the end, Zaroff’s challenge is lost as Rainsford outwits his opponent and wins the battle. Through the short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” Richard Connell illustrates that a healthy enemy relationship is both challenging and equally matched.
What that introduction does right • Attention-getter • Discusses attention getter for a few sentences • Flows from attention getter into novel (TRANSITION) • Plot summary • Only what is going to be discussed in essay • Thesis is last sentence
Misc. Tips • NEVER say “In this essay…” or “This essay will be about…” • Write thesis first- work backward • Write one body paragraph first- then go back to introduction • Think of how you will make the conclusion relate back to the introduction- stories, quotes, etc. must also relate to conclusion if used.
The Essay Conclusion
The Effective Conclusion • Restate thesis in topic sentence • Summarize main points of each body paragraph • Discuss topics importance in general terms • Hook back to attention-getting technique
Stylistic Devices • A conclusion should come “full circle” and return to the method used in the introduction
Habits to Avoid • “To sum up…” • “In conclusion…” • “As this paper has shown…” These words are stale and lifeless; they should be avoided at all costs!
Conclusion Sample • Through the healthy enemy relationship in “The Most Dangerous Game,” Richard Connell portrays that enemies should be both equally matched and challenging. Because Rainsford and Zaroff were both hunters at equal skill levels, when they met each other on the hunting grounds, they were forced to remember and use techniques. Zaroff needed to remember how to find traps that lesser-skilled hunters would not have been able to set for him, and Rainsford needed to use his wits to remember tricks that he learned from natives in order to keep Zaroff and his hunting party at bay. Furthermore, each competitor needed the other to challenge each other to reach new levels. Rainsford needed Zaroff to challenge his ideas regarding the emotions that a quarry feels while being hunted, since prior to meeting his enemy, Rainsford felt little compassion for his own prey. On the other hand, Zaroff needed Rainsford to teach him modesty and morals. Zaroff needed to learn that just because he was bored, he could not harm other people. Just like Harry Potter and Lord Voledemort, Rainsford and Zaroff were good enemies for one another. They certainly did help one another face new challenges and pushed each other to overcome them. The famous philosopher Ovid was right: Rainsford learned a lot from his enemy.
What that Conclusion Does Right: • Restatement of thesis is 1st sentence • Each body paragraph is summarized in about two-three sentences • General discussion about topic follows • Hooks back to attention-getter.