How can I write an Introduction to an essay on Heart of Darkness that includes author information and the novel's context?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In an Introduction to an academic essay at the postgraduate level, you will provide general background and specific information about your topic in a space that is generally 5 to 7 percent of your total essay. The general information will tell the broader academic area that your topic is part of, in the case of Heart of Darkness it's English literature, and the specific information will tell the field or branch of the broader academic area, in this case Victorian colonial literature. Also, you will tell the Who or What of your specific topic, which is, briefly, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and tell the Where and When (the context) of your topic (as applicable), in this case, briefly, Congo and the Congo River in Africa around 1890.

In addition, you will tell the Why of your topic, stating your aim and/or purpose for writing about your topic (to explore, to explain, to examine under deconstructionist theory, etc.) and the How of your approach to writing, which in literature is most often analytical (or comparative, etc.). Finally, you will give a statement of the idea you wish to argue, the issue, the claim, or the question that you wish to argue and prove; this of course is your Thesis statement. If you follow these guidelines you will provide an appropriate amount of author and contextual information for an essay Introduction. Further author and context information will of course go in the first essay section that delves into historical or theoretical background as needed, as is relevant to your thesis.

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Heart of Darkness

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