Writing the introduction of an essay was always the most difficult task for me. In the past, I was told to disperse my thesis throughout the introduction paragraph. I was told to write some general statement that would catch a reader's attention. I was told to give the reader some idea how I was supporting my thesis. The following introduction from Essay 1.1 shows the skills "I was told to" do in the past:
Introduction from Essay 1.1
Instead of encouraging morale and teaching benevolence, religion has a negative effect on the black community. Richard Wright portrays religion in Black Boy like Karl Marx’s famous quote: an “opiate of the people”. Religion provides an illusory solution to the black community’s pain and suffering in the South. They want to believe heaven exists; they want to believe that their souls will be saved; they want to believe they can escape their realities. So desperately, that their beliefs become empty. To overcome their current realities, people commit to the religious communities to feel united and safe. Yet, at these gatherings, religion becomes a public display, a stage act of pride. Religion offers security; however, it does more harm than good by drugging the community’s senses of reality.
After our first essays, Professor Hardy addressed our introduction paragraphs with a lesson on the three-part introduction. By breaking down the paragraph into the topic, the motive, and the thesis, it allows a logical follow-through to the thesis. Simply from that one lesson, my introduction improved substantially just in the next essay:
Introduction from Essay 1.2
For Richard in Black Boy, religion constantly causes conflict in his life – he suffers from his Grandmother’s strict, religious regime; his family worries that his soul will never reach salvation; and the black community alienates him for his non-conforming behavior. Throughout the autobiography, Wright paints an extreme, poisoning picture of organized religion. Yet, critics like Claudia Tate argue that Wright merely exaggerates his life to better illustrate his struggle, and the effect does not detract from the artistic value of the autobiography. However, even she agrees that Wright “invested” the autobiography with “exaggerated bleakness, brutality, and a sense of immense and tragic conflict” (Tate 118). Although Wright makes an insightful point about organized religion from a well-developed perspective, he makes too many negative religious generalizations. And in analyzing Wright’s particular standpoint on religion, his glaring negativity causes the autobiography to fall short from Pascal’s definitions of the successful autobiography.
In the second introduction, I am much more specific in my topic and target readers interested in Black Boy from the beginning. My intro also flows from one point to the next instead of a random string of general points. Most importantly, my thesis in the second introduction portrays a stronger and more developed argument.