The power of a great introduction - Carolyn Mohr

Uploaded by TEDEducation on 27.09.2012

Think about how your favorite stories hook you.
"When he was nearly 13, my brother Jim
got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
When it healed, and Jim's fears of never being able to play football
were assuaged, he was seldom self conscious about his injury."
"All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway,
are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot
in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn't his."
"My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip,
my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer
or more explicit than 'Pip.'
So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip."
Imagery, intrigue, emotion: each introduction makes you want to read more.
If you have an assignment to write a literary analysis,
your introduction will be just as important.
There will be four elements in your essay:
your introduction,
thesis statement,
analysis and conclusion.
If you begin writing a literary analysis with the introduction,
you may be discouraged.
Here's a tip for writing a great introduction:
Write it last,
and write your thesis first.
Figure out what you want to analyze before you actually analyze it.
Your thesis is the foundation for the rest of your essay,
including your introduction.
So how do you find your thesis?
Start by asking questions.
To Charles Dickens you may ask,
"why do you draw attention to characters' hands?"
"What's up with their names?"
"Pumblechook? Really?"
To narrow your concept for analysis, answer the questions yourself.
"Estella ridicules Pip's hands, Jaggers constantly washes his hands,
Pip insufferably burns his hands,
Mrs. Joe brings Pip up by hand."
Are there patterns in your answers?
"Estella's comments smack of cruelty,
while Jaggers' cleanses his immoral conscience.
Pip finds a second chance,
while Mrs. Joe abuses a child under the guise of love and dedication."
What can you analyze with this pattern?
"Hands symbolize social class inequities,
and through Dickens' criticism, he exposes the dire need for reform
in Victorian London.
What you will do next, which is an entirely different lesson,
is to draft and revise your analysis.
Only after you write your analysis,
return to your introduction.
Like authors earlier,
try to intrigue and inspire your reader.
Avoid starting with famous quotations,
dictionary definitions
or rhetorical questions.
Consider the historical context of your topic,
or an anecdote or some larger idea or concept.
Here's an example:
"27 bones in the hand and wrist allow humans to concurrently create
and destroy. Thousands of hands have been behind history's astounding creations.
Hands represent a powerful symbol,
one that was not lost on Charles Dickens.
In Great Expectations, Dickens uses hands
to symbolize social class inequities,
and through his criticism, he exposes the dire need for social reform
in Victorian London."
Take time crafting and revising your thesis and introduction.
Remember, if you are bored while writing,
your reader will be bored while reading.
By the way, did you notice the introduction to this lesson?
It didn't start with "here's how to write a thesis and introduction."
Would that have hooked you?