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Student Question

How can the thesis "Elia Kazan's film On The Waterfront does not support violence" be supported?

I need to write a practice short piece, supporting that Elia Kazan's film does not approve of violence and need ideas on what to write for my body paragraphs, and what I should write or mention in my introduction. I have trouble with introductions the most. (I'm an English as a Second Language student and need simple explanations).

Expert Answers

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Based upon the true story of a dockworker, Anthony DiVincenzo, who testified against the longshoremen's union in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was subsequently ostracized, On the Waterfront realistically portrays the role that violence plays in the lives of people who live and work by the shipping docks, an area long controlled by the Mafia. Protagonist Terry Malloy's victory over John Friendly and his militant union represents a victory over organized crime with its racketeering, extortion, and violence that is employed as a means of controlling men.

In composing an introduction on this film, all that is needed in this first paragraph are the following:

1.  The Motivator - This is the beginning of the introductory paragraph that is written with the purpose of "hooking" the reader; that is, getting the reader interested, or motivated to continue reading.  Sometimes, writers open their introductions with a relevant quotation from the work that is central to the theme. Certainly, stating that the movie is based upon a true story almost always interests people; so, providing some background on the film and how violence is an integral part of the longshoremen's lives should work well as a motivator. 

2.  The Thesis Statement - This statement of the main idea of the essay comes at the end of the introductory paragraph. (e.g. [for example] Violence exists in On the Waterfront but is unsupported because.....)

3. The Blueprint - This is the short list of the main point the writer will present in the body of the essay. Each of these main points will form the topic sentence of the body paragraphs.  For instance, with the main point that violence is unsupported, the writer will list separate reasons how this lack of support is presented.  (e.g. characters fight against the death of Joey Doyle)

[Source:  The Practical Writer with Readings, Bailey/Powell]

In summary, an introduction merely presents the topic in an interesting way as well as the main statement of what the essay's body will discuss. It does not contain any explanations or support of this main point as the body paragraphs are designed for this purpose.

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