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Tricks For Academic Writing

Helpful Recommendations On How To Start A Literary Essay


You only get one chance to make a good first impression. That’s what your introductory paragraph to your literary essay is: the first impression of your work. If you’re doing a literary essay, you’re expected to explain the importance of a particular aspect of the literary work you’ve chosen. The introduction should provide relevant information about the literary piece and should guide your reader as to what the essay is about.

Some tips to get you going on writing your literary essay:

  1. Decide on a clear topic. Your introduction will be only as good as your own understanding of your topic. If you aren’t familiar with the specific aspect of a work of literature that you’re writing about, that will show through in your essay.

  2. Title and author. Your reader needs to know which poem, short story or novel you’ll be discussing. Include the title and author of the literary work in the first or second sentence of your essay.

  3. Set the hook. Your introduction should hook the reader in the first sentence, compelling him or her to read on. Include something interesting in the first line. It should be relevant to your topic.

  4. Make a few assumptions. Your opening paragraph needs to be precise and focused. To make sure you keep it this way throughout your writing, make a few standard assumptions when you begin writing. Assume that your reader has read the work you’re discussing. Also assume that your reader is familiar enough with the work that you don’t have to include a detailed outline of the plot and a summary of the story.

  5. So what’s this all about? Your introduction needs to make it clear exactly what you’ll be analyzing or critiquing in your paper. Including this in the opening paragraph lets the reader know what to expect.

  6. Don’t rush it. The introduction should let the reader know what is coming, so don’t try to cram the actual analyzing or critique into the first paragraph. Save that for the body of the essay.

  7. Thesis statement. It is perfectly acceptable to save your thesis statement until the last of the introductory paragraph.

  8. Avoid the babbling introduction. Because the introduction requires so much be included, make sure you use smooth transitions throughout. You don’t want your introduction to end up reading like a lump of non-related sentences stuck together. You introduction should make sense as a paragraph all on its own.

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