How do I start my introduction for a To Kill a Mockingbird essay that relates to Scout's and Jem's learning experience throughout the book? 

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Before you can write an introduction to your essay, you need to do some pre-writing and planning first.  The easiest way to get started on any essay topic is to turn the prompt into an open ended question.  For your topic, such a question might be something like:

What is the learning experience of Scout and Jem throughout the book?  Or, describe Scout and Jem's learning experience throughout the book.

Step two is to brainstorm answers to the prompt.  Make a long list of ideas using specific quotes or paraphrased summaries of different scenes in the book.  As you create your list, you should be attempting to group answers into about three main categories.

Step three is to label your categories.  In this essay, you will most likely find that Scout and Jem tend to learn lessons in one of three ways: from their own mistakes and circumstances, from Atticus himself, or through comments by other characters.

Once you have a list of ideas and have categorized them, step four is to create an outline of your three body paragraphs.  Each paragraph should focus on one of the argument categories and one or two examples that prove this argument.

A well written outline will lead you to a well written thesis statement (the main idea of your entire essay).  Your thesis statement essentially answers the prompt question.  In this case it might be something as simple as, "Scout and Jem's learning experiences take place in one of three ways.  These include..."

In order to complete the introduction for your essay, you simply need to put your ideas together.  The opening sentence should hook your reader.  The second sentence is your thesis statement.  Then, add a sentence which introduces your three categories.  You may want to have a seque sentence which leads into the first body paragraph, but it isn't always necessary.  Keep in mind that the introduction to any essay does not include any quotes, arguments, or opinions.  It simply introduces what the essay will discuss.  The links below provide additional information for writing introductions as well as the novel itself.