Essay'S Audience

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You might opt for the all-I intro because you want to give your readers credit for knowing a lot about the relevant scholarly conversation rather than rehearsing points you believe they are already familiar with.

Another honorable justification, but one that often has the unfortunate effect of suggesting that you are actually not familiar with what other scholars have said.

At the same time, this possible objection helps clarify the situations in which it makes sense to employ the bold-pronouncement strategy: those in which readers of the journal will immediately recognize the striking quality of the thesis, the ways it seeks to take the scholarly conversation in a substantially new direction.

Why might authors go for just the hook or just the I?

That’s understandably so: not only is a lot riding on an essay’s introduction, but it also needs to accomplish multiple rhetorical tasks efficiently.

And while everyone knows the general purpose of the introduction -- to state the essay's thesis -- many people have trouble determining how best to get to that statement. First, there are many effective strategies for building up to that statement.We also want to note that using the hook and an I approach is ultimately less a matter of sheer quantity -- X number of sentences or paragraphs to others, and Y number to your ideas -- than of argumentative quality.Good introductions do not just repeat what other scholars have said; they analyze it and find an opening in it for their contribution.The “all hook and no I” introduction has paragraph upon paragraph (or even page upon page) describing how other scholars have viewed the issue the article addresses with little indication of how the author’s thesis fits into this conversation.Conversely, “the no hook and all I” introduction immediately launches into the author’s argument without establishing the current scholarly conversation that makes it meaningful.The tease comes with the hook, the construction of the opening for your argument, and ends with the full expression of the I, the articulation of your thesis statement or statements. We have all heard the advice that one should write the introduction last.But as with most rhetorical matters, one size does not fit all.Consequences This approach to introductions has ripple effects on the larger activity of writing an effective essay. We often find that authors use their first paragraphs for their abstracts.We do not recommend this tactic, because, as we have discussed in a related article, introductions and abstracts have different purposes.Examples are Gerald Graff’s “Why How We Read Trumps What We Read” and John Hardwig’s “The Role of Trust in Knowledge.” The Bold Pronouncement Strategy.You announce an especially arresting thesis in your opening sentence or sentences.


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