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Strong Introduction

How you introduce yourself is important. The old and still popular, but revised cliché still serves a significant role today: “First impressions are important.” The way you dress, speak, present all of your qualities, and leave a conversation are all important. What makes it important? For whom is it important? The person you are in conversation with finds it important. The interviewer of the job you want believes it to be important; the company as a whole finds it important. Your own friends find it important that you present yourself well when going out on the town with them. It may not be important to you that you make a good first impression, a good first “introduction,” but it is important, nevertheless, to someone else.

In comparison, how you introduce yourself through your paper’s introduction is important. When your professor reads your essay, he or she is also reading you. If you present a sloppy appearance, physically, and you present this same appearance in the writing of your paper, then you have planted a seed in your professor’s brain that you are sloppy. She believes that you don’t care about doing a good job or taking the time necessary to construct well-structured and grammatically correct sentences.

However, if you present yourself in a suit and tie, or formal business wear, and you present this same appearance in your paper, then you have also planted a seed in your professor’s brain that you care about how she and others perceive you. You know that doing a good job takes time and that you have allowed time to be a factor in your writing the paper as well. As a result, your paper reflects this kind of thinking. In other words, you care.

The introduction is very important to a paper. You either keep us or lose us in the introduction. It doesn’t matter how well you incorporate quotes and examples throughout the paper. If you haven’t defined the introduction, then your thesis will also lack definition. If you don’t provide the direction for the reader at the beginning, he or she will care less about anything in the middle or at the end. Pique our interests in the beginning and we will be loyal to the end.  This is the sentiment of a professor who writes “Strong Introduction” in the margins.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.


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Essay Section: Introduction

When professors write the comment “Interesting!” their sentiments are about a particular area of your analysis. The sentiment is positive.

For example, you provide statements within a specific part of your paper that represent a bit of information your professor doesn’t know anything about and he believes that the parallel you attempt to prove is definitely realistic. This is application of “Interesting” on a basic level. On an advanced level, developing parallels between multiple contexts will garner an “Interesting!” from your professor, because of the uniqueness of the supporting evidence.

The student in the sample excerpt below uses a biblical reference event to compare to another event in a literary work. These two sources are not similar in historical context, but they both provide a window into humanity, because the works house real people who make real-life decisions regardless of the context.

The connections the student makes between the biblical Esau and the literary Caliban of Shakespeare’s The Tempest proves to be an interesting parallel that is appropriate, timely for the analysis, and forward-looking. Read the following excerpt to understand how your professor may possibly reach a decision to write “Interesting!” on your paper.

Sample Excerpt

Just as Antonio changes to a master role, where Prospero loses his position, he gains another position on the island.  He becomes a master and Caliban, a slave.  Prospero usurps the island from Caliban.  Not fearing that Prospero would take the island from him, Caliban reveals “. . . all the qualities of th’ isle . . .” and regrets ever doing so (1.2.340342).  Caliban sells his birthright just as Esau in the bible does, letting down his guard and revealing secrets when he shows Prospero the island.  He leaves no room for protection.  And Prospero uses Caliban’s own lips to steal away the island with “sorcery” (3.2.50).  So, Caliban is seen as aiding in his own demise.

Figure 19: Essay Excerpt on The Tempest


Esau, for a quick bite of Jacob’s soup, sold his birthright hastily without thought or respect to the fact that he was the eldest son.

The “birthright” comes with many privileges.  To sell it is to consider the birthright as nothing more than a name instead of the prestige and status it evokes.


The student provides a parallel between the biblical story of Jacob and Esau and the Shakespearean story of Prospero and Caliban.  Who knew that such a story was indeed universal and transcendent?

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Good Opening

Essay Section: Introduction

The comment “Good Opening” is an affirmative reply. It applies to those introduction paragraphs that introduce the topic by supplying the reader with credible information and historical data. These are also introductions that clearly formulate a thesis, that demonstrate to the reader a clear method by which the writer will accomplish the task.

The introduction is the most important part of the paper. If the introduction is not clearly expressed, then you will lose the reader. If you lose the reader in the beginning, then you have lost the reader throughout the whole of the paper.

Devote care, consideration, and time to developing a strong introduction, one that explains, supplies, and directs. Think of the introduction as a director of a movie. As a matter of fact, think of yourself as the director of the movie. Who is your audience?  What do you want your audience to know? How do you plan to go about showing your audience members what they want to know and what you, as the director, want them to know?

Establish a strong opening and you establish your purpose for writing a paper. Click the “Introduction” and “Thesis” categories for access to additional comments on the introduction paragraph.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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