What are some strategies to write an introduction for a theme development essay about the theme of sacrifice in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you are writing an introduction to a literary analysis, there are a few particular requirements. Otherwise, writing an introduction to a theme development essay is much like writing the introduction to any other kind of essay.

In a literary analysis, you must provide the name of the text you are analyzing and the name of the author of the text. That is a necessity.  You also should provide a very brief overview of the story, enough for the reader to be able to know what you are writing about in the body of the essay.  This usually includes the setting and the names of the main characters and any characters you will be discussing at the very least.  One or two sentences is fine.

Usually the funnel method is a good way to introduce theme-driven analysis, beginning with a general idea and then narrowing down to the specifics of the thesis statement, as a funnel is broad at the top and narrow at the bottom. For example, you might begin with a very general discussion of the idea of sacrifice, opening with a statement about how people make sacrifices for family, friends, or country.  Or you might start by discussing how sacrifices can have many different motivations.  From there, you could discuss how literature is filled with books about sacrifice. And then you could mention the particular book you are going to be discussing. Each sentence is narrowing your focus just a bit, until the final sentence, which is the thesis statement.

A thesis statement has two purposes.  It is meant to state your main idea, your thesis, and it is meant to state the points you will develop to support that thesis.  In a theme development essay, I would say the expectation is that your main idea, your thesis, will be that a literary text has a particular theme.  In this case, you are asserting that a theme of this story is sacrifice.  Now you must decide what points you are going to make to show that the book has this theme. What points will these be?  Those are the points you must "list" in your thesis statement. For example, if I were writing an essay about The Giver, this could be my thesis statement:

A powerful theme in The Giver is choice, which is shown in the colorless life of the community, the lack of control over profession or family, and the dawning awareness of Jonas in the importance of making decisions for oneself. 

That states a theme that I see in the story, along with the three points I am going to develop to establish why this is a theme. Your thesis statement must do this, too. 

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The Kite Runner

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