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Essay Elements. »Introduction » Ways To Introduce

Include Interesting Background Information:

Example 1:

    In a 1962 essay on the writer Dawn Powell, Edmund Wilson tries to account for Powell's small readership and lack of serious critical attention. Her problem, it would appear, is that she doesn't appeal to the ladies. "She does nothing to stimulate feminine daydreams," Wilson writes. "The woman reader can find no comfort in identifying herself with Miss Powell's heroines" who are "as sordid and absurd as the men" and who engage in love scenes that will neither "rouse [nor] melt you" (526).
    What I would claim, however, is that Powell does write a love story, a rousing tale of a woman's lifelong passion for a place rather than a person.

— From an English term paper by a student from CUNY

Here, the author of the passage includes a quotation to set up a contrast between the a love affair for a person and a love affair with a city.

Example 2:

     By many accounts Baltimore is a comeback city. It has a beautiful piece of calculated nostalgia in the Camden Yards baseball stadium, which draws tens of thousands of visitors throughout the spring and summer. It has a lively waterfront district, the Inner Harbor, with charming shops and hot snacks for sale every hundred yards or so. But although it may function well as a kind of urban theme park (and there are plenty of cities that would love to achieve that distinction), as a city it is struggling. For twenty years Baltimore has hemorrhaged residents: more than 140,000 have left since 1980. Meanwhile, the surrounding suburbs have steadily grown. The population of Howard County, a thirty-minute drive from the city, has doubled since 1980, from 118,600 to 236,000. The people who have stayed in Baltimore are some of the neediest in the area. The city has 13 percent of Maryland's population but 56 percent of its welfare caseload. Only about a quarter of the students who enroll in a public high school in the city graduate in four years.
     And Baltimore is not unique. The image of America's cities has improved greatly over the past few years, thanks to shiny new downtowns dotted with vast convention centers, luxury hotels, and impressive office towers, but these acres of concrete and faux marble hide a reality that is in many cases grim.

— by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley "Divided We Sprawl" The Atlantic Monthly, December 1999.

By first providing information about all the improvements Baltimore has undergone in the last few years and then bringing in facts that illustrate how much poverty is beneath the surface, the authors of this article set up their thesis: many cities that look good on the surface are suffering.

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