What is a good introduction for an essay on the book A Long Way Gone?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Perhaps the writer of the introduction for an essay on A Long Way Gone may wish to capitalize upon the significance of the book's title and irony of its author's name. For Ishmael Beah, like Ishamel of the Bible, who must wander, is taken far from his childhood of dreams after a horrific civil war strikes his home.  But, with courage, Beah endures despite having lost his innocence; he remembers the words of his grandmother, who has said, "We must strive to be like the moon," an adage that exhorts people to find goodness. For, while people grumble about too much sun or too much cold, people rarely complain when the moon shines as there are joyous and loving things that happen in moonlight.

When writing an introduction to an essay, the student will want to use what is called "a motivator," something which will hook the reader, grab his/her attention. Often such a motivator is an observation, or a quotation; therefore, the commentary on Ishmael's name works well as thematic to the novel, as does the quotation of Ishmael's grandmother about the moon, which serves to foreshadow Ishmael's redemption from being a child soldier. At any rate, the "motivator" should lead into the thesis, which is a general statement of the purpose of the essay with three opinions which act as topic sentences to the body of the essay.

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