The introduction paragraph starts broad or general: meaning what you are writing about is not yet specific to the literature your analyzing. So, your first sentence or two explains what your essay is going to be about in general only.
Introduce the topic of the paper in a general way
You need to inform the reader about the literature you are analyzing. So this section of the introduction does that. You can very briefly summarize the story, give information about the time period in which it was written, mention the author (or in the case of Beowulf, translator). Be sure to include a transition sentence that connects your background to your thesis.
Give some background about the work of literature. Like the title, author and a very brief summary of the plot.
Transition to thesis.
As you continue to write your introduction paragraph, the content becomes more specific, ending in the most specific part of the introduction: the thesis statement. Your thesis sentence must be the last sentence of the introduction.
Sample Introduction Paragraph for thesis #1: Real life is often reflected in the literature of its time period. This is shown in the first ever recorded work of literature in the English language. From about 400 to 1100 AD, the Anglo-Saxon people settled in England having come from different parts of Europe and Scandinavia. They brought with them stories that mirrored the times in which they lived. The only record of a narrative written in the Old English language during this time period is Beowulf, a story of an epic hero who conquers three beasts in order to save the lives of hundreds. While the story told is a work of fiction, it tells of some of the trials and ways of life of the Anglo-Saxon people. The epic poem Beowulf illustrates the Anglo-Saxon time period as reflected through religion, politics and culture.
Sample Introduction Paragraph for thesis #2: One literary genre that has strict requirements is a long narrative called an epic poem. Its key elements set this genre apart from other types of stories. From about 400 to 1100 AD, the Anglo-Saxon people settled in England having come from different parts of Europe and Scandinavia. They passed down stories orally in the folk tradition until the end of the era when those stories were finally written down. The first story ever to be recorded in Old English was the epic poem Beowulf, and it incorporates all of the necessary components of the epic genre. The poem Beowulf clearly reflects the elements of an epic poem because the main character, Beowulf is an epic hero, there are numerous instances of divine intervention and there are many events of great importance.
Each body paragraph must start out with a topic sentence. This topic sentence is a complete sentence that comes from the thesis statement. For example:
Thesis: Beowulf is an epic poem because it reflects the elements of an epic; such as, the main character, Beowulf is an epic hero, there are numerous instances of divine intervention and many events of great importance occur.
Topic Sentence #1: One of the major reasons why Beowulf is an epic poem is because the main character is an epic hero.
Topic Sentence #2: Another reason why Beowulf is an epic poem is because there are numerous instances of divine intervention.
Topic Sentence #3: Finally, Beowulf is an epic poem because many events of great importance occur.
Next, the topic sentence must be explained in your own words.
Then, three examples must be presented.
For instance, you would give three examples of how Beowulf is an epic hero, three examples of when divine intervention happened and three examples of events of great importance.
Next, you must find textual evidence to back one of your examples for each paragraph.
This evidence is a quote from the poem. The quote must have a lead in that introduces the speaker and the context, open quotations marks indicating a direct, word for word quote, and end quotation marks. The in-text citation must follow the quote and for Beowulf will be the line numbers that the quote came from.
Beowulf announces to Hrothgar and his men as he prepares for his fight with Grendel, “I hereby renounce sword and the shelter of the broad shield, the heavy war-board: hand-to-hand is how it will be, a life-and-death fight with the fiend” (438-440).
Your essay will have 3 quotes total. One quote to back up each of your points from your thesis statement.
Finally, you will conclude your body paragraph with a sentence that wraps up the point you are making. You can refer back to your topic sentence, but don’t just repeat it word for word.
Conclusion Your conclusion paragraph is simple. You’re wrapping up all of the arguments that you made during you essay leaving the reader with your strongest points.
First, you should restate your thesis - not in the exact same words. (1 sentence)
Then you should make a final argument for each of your three points. Be sure that you’re not adding any new information here, you are just cementing the argument that you already made. (3 sentences)
One final sentence should refer back to your opening sentence, making another general statement about the topic of your essay. (1 sentence)