What is the effect of opening an essay with the following lines?When comparing the popular view of the cowboy with the author's own experiences, she writes: "When I'm in New York but feeling lonely...

What is the effect of opening an essay with the following lines?

When comparing the popular view of the cowboy with the author's own experiences, she writes: "When I'm in New York but feeling lonely for Wyoming I look for the Marlboro ads in the subway. What I'm aching to see is horseflesh, the glint of a spur, a line of distant mountains, brimming creeks, and a reminder of the ranches and cowboys I've ridden with for the last eight years. But the men I see in those posters with their stern, humorless looks remind me of no one I know here."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Opening with a quotation is an effective way in which to introduce a topic, but the writer wants to merely suggest what will be in the thesis, rather than use the quotations to state it.  So, in the above passage, perhaps using only the lines 

When I'm in New York but feeling lonely for Wyoming I look for the Marlboro ads in the subway....But the men I see in those posters with their stern, humorless looks remind me of no one I know there

may be enough of an introduction of the topic of comparison/contrast of real cowboys with the fabricated (or Hollywood?) concept. After this quotation, you can, then, create your thesis statement that the popular images of the Western cowboy, while similar in------, differ greatly from the author's [use the name of the author] experiences in ----, and ------.  [Here you make the three major points that you will use to develop the body of your essay.

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