What is the introduction part of the critical analysis essay?i have to do a critical analysis essay on "the Lottery". I have been asked to do Strong introduction draft. Is that the first paragraph...

What is the introduction part of the critical analysis essay?

i have to do a critical analysis essay on "the Lottery". I have been asked to do Strong introduction draft. Is that the first paragraph of my essay? i have no clue how to even start this.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Definitely, the introduction is the first paragraph for your critical analysis essay.  Now, we need to focus on what introductions need generally and what an introduction to a critical analysis needs. 

An introduction needs to ease the reader into the main idea you want to discuss.  Starting with the main point you want to make is not necessarily a good idea because there is no buildup.  For example, if you were to walk up to a stranger on the street and say, "'The Lottery' is a story about a people who blindly follow the leader,"  that stranger would probably walk away from you. You need to build up to that idea.  Writing an introduction for your audience in no different.  What would you say first if you wanted to talk about one main idea in this story?  If your main idea were about people not wanting to take a stand, you might begin with the idea that there are cowards in every society.  Do you see how that is a general comment, but it opens the door to the main idea? 

In most introductions, you want to structure the paragraph so that you keep leading to that main idea, which is called a thesis statement.  The thesis statement is usually the last sentence in the introduction, and we will talk a bit more about that below. 

In most introductions, you will want to avoid using any quotes from the story, saving quotes to support your idea in the body paragraphs that will follow.  It is always best to use your own words in the introduction to introduce your ideas. 

In a critical analysis, it is important that you name the story and the author of the story.  Otherwise, no one will know what you are writing about.  Sometimes, the introduction will include a very brief synopsis of the story, including a sentence or two about the characters, the setting, and the plot.  Sometimes this is in the second paragraph, or the story is told through all the body paragraphs, as you explain the ideas you have. 

Now, in a critical analysis, the thesis statement, the statement of your main idea, needs to say something important about the story, for example, what its theme is, why the setting is important, or an idea about the relationship between the characters.  A good thesis statement will also give the reader a "preview" of the points you want to make in support of that statement.  For example, if I were writing an essay about The Secret Life of Bees, I might say something like, "'The Secret Life of Bees makes use of many symbols, the most important ones being water, bees, and a statue of Mary." Now, I don't know if this is a book you have read, but those are very important symbols in the story, and now that I have told my reader that these are important symbols, I can set up the rest of my paper to talk about those symbols, one for each body paragraph.  So, you can see why the main idea you have must be in the introduction and why you need to give the reader that preview. 

Once you have all of these elements in your introduction, you have a great guide to write the rest of the paper.  This is such an interesting story, and there are many ideas that you can explore to write about it.

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The Lottery

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