you've decided what your thesis is going to be, you must
be able to frame it in a manner that provides an effective
entry into your work. No matter how great your argument
is, it will not do much good if no one is enticed into reading
it. The two most important functions of your introduction
are to serve as a grabber (a stylish, creative lead-up to what you’re trying to say)
and as justification (an explanation of why your argument
is even important in the first place).
DON’T summarize - Though it might seem easy to preface
your thesis with only a synopsis of the texts you’re writing
about, this is a particularly dull way to begin a paper.
DON'T keep reiterating your thesis -
Your thesis should appear in your intro as the culmination
of the previous thoughts, not just something you mention
and then keep restating to fill up a paragraph.
DO ask yourself questions - Why is
your thesis relevant? How is its being proven important
to the understanding of either text or fact? By linking
your argument to a larger issue, you will give your argument
both universality and interest.
DO be creative - Think about what aspect
of your topic you find the most interesting, and figure
out why. Use this to make it interesting to your reader.
following are some pre-packaged introduction ideas. It is
important, however, not to just adopt one and use it for
every paper, particularly for the same instructor. This
practice will become trite very quickly.)
The quotation - Find a quote from one of your sources
or, even better, from elsewhere that seems to get at the
problem you're dealing with. State it at the beginning of your intro and discuss how it relates to
what you're trying to prove.
The question - Throw out a broad question of universal
interest, and demonstrate how a possible answer can be related
to your thesis (Example: "What do women want? It's
a question that's plagued mankind since the dawn of history...the
works of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath yield two different
paradigms of feminine self-realization").
The anecdote - This works particularly well for
a historical essay, and even better if you have some ability
at creative writing. Pick a specific incident that represents
the underlying conflict of your piece, and briefly narrate
it like a story. Explain afterwards how the instance reflects
a problem you're attempting to solve.