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Writing a Paper: Introductions

Writing an Introduction

An easy template for writing an introduction:

  1. What has been said or done on this topic?
  2. What is the problem with what has been said or done?
  3. What will you offer to solve the problem? (The answer to this question is your thesis statement.)
  4. How does your solution address social change?

Example:

  1. What has been said or done?
    Since its publication in 1880, Constance Fenimore Woolson’s short story, “Rodman the Keeper,” critics have repeatedly described it as “epitomizing [a] sympathy and sensitivity to the South” (Weekes, 2002, p. 34).
  2. What is the problem with what has been said or done?
    Belying this assessment, I would argue, is the make-up of Woolson’s Southern economy.
  3. What will you offer to solve the problem?
    Therefore, I will focus not on the sympathetically depicted depravity of the Southern proletariat, as most critics do, but rather on the causes and effects of this depravity. This approach will reveal a facet of “Rodman” that many critics have ignored: the financial irresponsibility of the “thriftless,” “prideful” Southerner and the subsequent and repeated fault in his attempt to independently sustain his economy.
  4. How does your solution address social change?
    Peppered throughout Woolson’s text, these charges of incompetence make it seem that Woolson is far less concerned with “preserving a record of the quickly fading southern values, society, and way of life” (Weekes, 2002, p. 37) than she is with establishing Northern superiority.

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