A literary analysis essay introduction is, quite simply, your first chance to grab your reader and hold their interest throughout the rest of your paper. This means that you need to know how to write an essay introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them interested throughout the rest of your work.
This guide will help you figure out how to write a literary analysis essay introduction that will capture and hold the attention of your readers so they don’t stop reading until they reach the end of the essay and thoroughly understand what you’re trying to say with it.
How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Introduction Paragraph
Start with an unusual fact or statistic
A literary essay introduction paragraph that hooks your reader can be as simple as starting with an unusual fact or statistic.
The opening of the following passage is a great example: “Cervantes, author of the classic novel Don Quixote, was born in 1547 and died in 1616. The timeline creates a sense of mystery, so readers will want to know more about this man and his work.”
The key when using statistics or facts is to make sure they are either very interesting on their own or are relevant and have some type of bearing on the topic at hand.
When we use either one we create an introduction that starts off strong because it captures our reader’s attention right away by giving them something they’re not expecting.
They’ll then continue reading your paper because they’re curious to find out why you included those statistics or facts.
Use a strong quotation in the Literary Introduction Paragraph
Quotations are another great way to start off a good literary analysis essay introduction. If you have quotes from famous people who are commenting on the subject matter, these quotes could also serve as an excellent intro for your paper.
When quoting someone else in the introduction of your paper, make sure that you only include material from the person being quoted that directly relates to your argument. You should never include anything beyond what they said which would give away what they were saying, potentially distorting their meaning entirely.
Make sure that all quotations are properly cited so there is no confusion about where the material came from or if it was originally said by someone else altogether. Include two quotes at most in the introduction of your paper and make sure they are completely relevant to your argument. Remember the introductory paragraph should not be too long because you want to save some room for the main body of your paper.
Keep the quotes short and concise, but make sure they relate to your main point and follow a logical progression. Give the context of the quote before you cite it so that the reader understands exactly what is being discussed.
Introduce the author in the Introductory paragraph
The introduction of a literary analysis paper is your chance to introduce the author(s) and title of a piece of literature. This is something that you will want to do whether or not your paper focuses on one or both of these elements.
Include author name(s), birth and death dates, a short biography and any other background information you think is relevant and important. You can also include genre, subject matter, tone and setting in your introduction paragraph.
These details will allow your reader to get a better understanding of the type of content they should expect. This is especially helpful if the writer of the paper doesn’t mention these things anywhere else. Remember to provide all these details in summary form in the introduction of your paper. This will ensure that your reader has a general idea of what they are going to read, without having to read the entire thing.
After you provide this information, you can then go into detail about your thesis statement and how it is supported by evidence.
State the thesis of your literary Analysis Essay
Just like any other academic essay, a literary analysis paper introduction will typically end with a thesis statement. The thesis is an idea that you wish to prove in your paper. In other words, it’s what you are trying to say and support using evidence from your text.
You need to come up with a strong thesis that encapsulates everything about your paper into one simple idea.
Ideally, your thesis should be narrow enough to guide readers through the rest of your paper and take away any potential ambiguity. At the same time though, your thesis cannot be too narrow or specific because it needs to encompass a wide range of ideas that might arise throughout the course of the discussion.
A thesis statement may come in the form of a question that you are posing to your audience. You may ask why a certain character acted the way he did, or what implications their actions had on society, among many other things. For example: How does Dickens show class distinctions in Victorian London? Another example: What are some possible reasons why Dostoyevsky wrote Crime and Punishment?
A thesis statement can also be an assertion. This is when you assert that, for example, “the character named Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is a self-centred adolescent.” Here you are making a claim that you believe to be true and will attempt to support it in your paper.
Literary Analysis Introduction Examples
Example of Literary analysis Introduction 1
The following sample introduction demonstrates how to start off a literary analysis essay. The analysis is based on Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel War and Peace. Here is the sample introduction paragraph:
Tolstoy is regarded as one of Russia’s most famous authors who was born September 9, 1828 in Tula and died November 20, 1910. He spent most of his life writing novels such as Anna Karenina (1877), which was considered scandalous at the time due to its portrayal of infidelity, incest and suicide. He is best known, however, for the epic trilogy War and Peace. The story takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and includes five characters – Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, Pierre Bezukhov, Natasha Rostova, Nikolai Rostov and Countess Marya Bolkonsky. Tolstoy uses these five to demonstrate that wars are caused by Napoleon’s selfish desires for expansion and power rather than patriotism or defense of honour. He also shows the contrast between the rich, aristocratic family lives of those caught up in the aristocratic culture, with the harsh realities faced by the lower classes. This work is often described as one of Tolstoy’s finest achievements. It has been lauded for its universal depiction of human nature and ability to capture life across social statuses and explore the depths of the human condition.
Example of Literary analysis Introduction 2
This is an introductory paragraph for a literary analysis based on the short story, The Gift of the Magi, written in 1905 by O. Henry. Here is the sample:
“The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.” This is one of the most famous quotes from O. Henry’s The Gift of Magi, a heartwarming tale about young lovers, Della and Jim. Many readers are familiar with O. Henry’s writing from his collection of stories called The Four Million published in 1906. A prolific author who wrote around one thousand short stories, O. Henry’s other works include The Ransom of Red Chief and The Cop and the Anthem. In the Gift of Magi, O. Henry draws parallels between the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ and the gift-giving traditions associated with Christmas. When Della sees her beautiful set of combs selling for only $1.98 at a hair store, she decides to sell her hair so she can buy Jim a platinum chain he had long desired so they can be married according to proper customs. When Jim sees what she did, he sells his pocket watch so he can buy her a nice set of tortoise-shell combs like she wanted before their marriage occurs. Overall , the two made a selfless sacrifice for each other, representing a true example of the spirit of Christmas. The Gift of Magi is a classic, timeless tale that will continue to live on in hearts and minds for many years to come. But it raises an important question “Is a story of true love still relevant in this day and age? “