Author Introduction Essay

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You interweave descriptions of noteworthy phenomena and questions that they raise; you then propose answers in your thesis statement or statements. Rabinowitz’s “Truth in Fiction: A Re-Examination of Audiences” and Sarah Iles Johnston’s "The Greek Mythic Storyworld." The Revision of Received Wisdom Strategy.

You begin by respectfully setting out a plausible and generally accepted view about the essay's central issue; you then point out flaws in this view and formulate an alternative view in your thesis statement or statements.

Strategies and Purposes Here is an illustrative list of strategies, neither comprehensive nor mutually exclusive. You start by identifying a problem and unpacking its key dimensions and then propose your solution in the thesis statement or statements.

(You no doubt recognize that we have just used this strategy.) For another example, see Catherine Gallagher, “The Rise of Fictionality.” The Question-Answer Strategy.

The first involves a general approach to the challenge, and the second builds on it with more specific advice.

First, think of your introduction as needing both “a hook and an I,” a precept that becomes clearer when you think of introductions that have only one of those components.

You use an anecdote that illustrates salient aspects of the essay's central issue and then link the anecdote to your thesis about that issue. Examples are Miriam Schoenfield’s “Permission to Believe: Why Permissivism Is True and What It Tells Us About Irrelevant Influences on Belief” and Jane Tompkins’s “Sentimental Power: and the Politics of Literary History.” These strategies are ultimately means to accomplish three interrelated rhetorical purposes of strong introductions.

This strategy is often combined with one of the others, especially No. All three are concerned with your readers, but the second also pays attention to your dialogic partners: the other scholars whose work you engage.

Effective uses of the hook and an I can create that opening in numerous ways: they can point to significant aspects of your object or objects of study that previous work has overlooked; they can indicate how previous work explains some phenomena well but others less well; they can point to unrecognized but valuable implications or extensions of previous work; or they can begin to make the case that previous work needs to be corrected.

The list could go on, but the key point is that you want to make your audience see the same opening you do and pique their interest in how you propose to fill it.

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