How Do You Start a Response to a Literature Essay?


Quick Answer

A response to literature essay should start with an introduction paragraph that grabs readers' attention, introduces the literary work or works being analyzed, and contains a strong thesis statement. The introduction should present the writer's main points and outline how the essay will prove these points.

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Full Answer

By far the most important part of the introductory paragraph is the thesis statement. The thesis is the essay's unifying idea or proposition. It is the basis on which the entire essay is built. A good thesis statement should be coherent, original and, above all, argumentative. A thesis statement needs to make a claim that not all readers will automatically accept. For example, saying that Shakespeare's "Hamlet" is about a young man's quest for revenge is too obvious and not debatable. To say that the eponymous protagonist of "Hamlet" experiences internal conflict because he is in love with his mother is a much stronger thesis, because many readers might argue against this notion. A good thesis makes a compelling argument that is then supported with ample evidence from the text. The thesis statement typically comes near the end of the introduction paragraph and is commonly one to three sentences long. An introduction often opens with an attention-grabbing statement that lures readers in. It may also provide a brief background on the text or the main issues addressed in the essay.

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