Your attention getter must be centered on a theme of the novel or work you read for class. The theme refers to the main point or central idea of a story. A theme should not be confused with a subject, or what the work is about. Rather, it is a perception about life or human nature that the writer shares with the reader. The theme is not stated, rather it is implied. Themes are universal, and can be applied to many types of literature. Below are some examples and non-examples of themes.
NOT A THEME STATEMENT: LOVE
GOOD EXAMPLE OF THEME STATMENT: Love comes in many forms (note a theme statement is more specific than one word).
BEWARE OF OVER USED PHRASES. THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMPLES OF CLICHES: crime doesn’t pay; the best things in life are free; all that glitters is not gold; the best things come in small packages.
Purpose of an Introductory Paragraph: As a writer, you want to hook your reader’s interest in the topic of your paper. Introductions can be informal, almost conversational. However, once you present your thesis statement, you want maintain a formal structure of a Jane Schafer essay.
Strategies for Beginning a Hook or Attention Getter:
An insight about the theme in your own words
Use a quote
Use a fact
Use an anecdote--tell a short story
DO NOT USE A QUESTION FOR A HOOK!
*Make sure to document your sources if you get your ideas from somewhere else.
Strategy 1: An insight about the theme in your own words
Example Introductory Paragraph
Humans often underestimate the power of Mother Nature and overestimate their own skills. When it comes to man and nature, humans possess a superhero persona of “invincibility,” and they become over confident in their ability to conquer their environment. At times, such erroneous reasoning can lead to an individual’s demise. In the short story “To Build a Fire,” by Jack London the main character’s ignorance towards wilderness survival and arrogance in his trekking abilities lead to his artic death.
Other Examples of Strategy 1
Writers often use social criticism in their books to show corruption or frailties of a society. Through his satirical fable, Animal Farm, George Orwell creates an allegory of Russia’s communist government as he illustrates the ill effects of totalitarian rule. Through the characterization of animals, Orwell shows the consequences of a naïve working class under the regime corrupted with greed and power. Just as history has shown that communism fails in Russia, Animal farm fails because the power-hungry pigs manipulate the uneducated farm creatures, and use the rewards of their toils to their own profit.
When handed power, the natural tendencies of humans will lead them to corruption and the abuse of power. This is shown very well in George Orwell's classic novel Animal Farm. In the novel animals take the places of humans for the satire effect to show complete corruption by power. Power will in the end destroy the dreams, rules, and anything else that was once good in the world. The manipulative nature of the power-hungry pigs along with the easily altered population who feared the ruling party caused the original vision of Animalism to fail.
Strategy 2: Use a quote
Example Introductory Paragraph
“Communism is like Prohibition, it's a good idea but it won't work,” stated Will Rogers, a well known U.S. comedian and showman. Communism is a brilliant idea if applied by responsible leaders and a willing society. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many nations around the world. Communism has failed more times than it has succeeded, and George Orwell uses an excellent example of that in his book Animal Farm. The novel depicts communist Russia’s historical demise and ruin. Animal Farm is satirical story spun into a world of animals living on a farm. In the novel, the animals of Manor Farm decide to rebel against their owner Farmer Jones. The animals are spurred on by their comrade Old Major and create a communist society, known as Animalism. Essentially, all animals are equal, and all Humans are bad. However, their plan for a perfect world soon begins to deteriorate when the pigs start taking over. Animal Farm failed because of the greed and affinity for power that Napoleon possessed, in addition to the lack of knowledge and stupidity of the other animals.
Pigs are useful animals. Research shows that they provide people with food, glue, pigskin garments, gloves, shoes, paint brushes, insulations, buttons and plenty of other handy objects that they need in everyday life (www.pickens.k12.sc.us/hesteachers/laboonac/web%20pages/pig_facts.htm).In the novel Animal Farm, George Orwell uses the pigs as brain workers. They supply the other animals with intelligence, telling them what to think and what to do. Old Major, the oldest boar in the farm, was the head of Animal Farm. When he dies, Napoleon and Snowball battle for power. As the story progresses, Napoleon gets this intense longing for power. This intense longing for power causes Animal Farm to fail.Animal Farm failed due to its leader Napoleon who wanted so much power and he did everything so that he would not lose it.
Other Examples of Strategy 3
Thundering through Africa is a horrible virus, a virus that is impossible to cure. A virus that is deadly. It is spreading so quickly and so fiercely that the outcome is threatening to rive that of the Bubonic Plague. This virus is AIDS. Millions of African children are left orphaned from the death of one or more parent, a death caused by AIDS. The sheer number of orphans affected by the virus is unreal, but when such figures are brought into life they become very real indeed. The standard of living of AIDS orphans is at an all time low, but you can’t get more real than poverty, famine, and death. A cyclical effect is created as the economy worsens because of the orphans, and the orphan’s condition worsens because of the economy. On and on this cycle will go with such acceleration, that it may be impossible to stop.
Strategy 4: Anecdote—(tell a story)
We have all had mosquito bites at some point in our lives. You know how it itches worse than anything else, but if you scratch it, the bite will only get worse. Despite knowing this, you can’t help but scratch it and scratch it. Those few brief moments of satisfaction seem worth it at the time, but as you continue to rub the wound, it swells into this giant red contusion that aches when touched. Again, you still scratch at it to make the itching subside, even if it is only for a moment. Similar to that of a venomous insect bite, the character Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth becomes consumed in his lust for power. His greed for supremacy becomes this addiction, and the only way he can ease the pain is to cause others adversity. Regardless of what he is doing to others, he continues hurting others in his pursuit for absolute power of Scotland. The farther he goes, the worse he gets, and the harder it is for him to stop. He knows that it is too late to turn back now; just like after making the mosquito bite extremely awful, you can’t go back and make it better. Essentially, Macbeth’s gullibility, overconfidence, and willingness to murder bring about his tragic downfall, but the audience needn’t sympathize with this monster because he brought this tremendous misfortune on himself.