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Essay Elements. »Introduction » Ways To Introduce

Set up a Contrast:


Example 1:

    Check out the nearest bookstore and you'll discover a remarkable thing: Aging has been cured. Titles like The Anti-Aging Hormones, Younger at Last, and Brain Longevity all promise, if not immortality, at least a few leaps back toward high school.
   There's just one problem: No one yet knows what causes aging and its inevitable consequence, death. And applying a cure to the ailment when you don't know the cause is haphazard at best. "All these magic bullets have turned out to be blanks,"says Gene Cohen, president of the Gerontological Society of America.

— Nancy Shute , "Why Do We Age?", U.S. News and World Report, August 25, 1991

The author begins by claiming one thing — that aging has been cured — and then refutes this idea in her thesis. She also includes a compelling quotation to lead into the body of her essay.




Example 2:

    Feminism, like Broadway, the novel, and God, has been declared dead many times. Indeed, unlike those other items, it has been declared dead almost since birth — by which I mean its modern rebirth in the 1960s. Feminism has also, as Susan Faludi demonstrated so cleverly in Backlash, been blamed for making women miserable, for causing everything from infertility — see? you waited too long to get pregnant because you were hell-bent on a fancy career and didn't settle for that nice boy next door twenty years ago, and now look — to poverty and divorce, which in this version of life is always initiated by men. And if that line doesn't work, there are always children, as in: feminism is all right for women, but what about the kids, foisted off on day-care centers run by child molesters and deprived of paternal authority by divorce, which in this version of life is always initiated by women.
    So it's with great pleasure and some relief that I observe that we are not gathered here tonight to debate whether feminism is actively bad or just irrelevant, but to discuss its future direction.

— Katha Pollitt, "Feminism at the Crossroads," from Dissent, 1994


The author opens with the common argument that feminism is dead as a way to move into her thesis about what feminism still has to offer.



Example 3:

     Popular perceptions about crime have blurred the boundaries between fact and politically expedient myth. The myth is that the United States is besieged, on a scale never before encountered, by a pathologically criminal underclass. The fact is that we're not. After spiraling upward during the drug wars, murder rates began falling in the mid-1990's; they are lower today than they were more than twenty years ago. In some cities, the murder rate in the late twentieth century is actually lower than it was in the nineteenth century. Nonviolent property-crimes are in general lower in the United States today than in Great Britain, and are comparable to those in many European countries.
     Nevertheless, horror stories have led to calls for longer prison sentences, for the abolition of parole, and for the increasingly punitive treatment of prisoners.

— Sasha Abramsky, "When They Get Out," The Atlantic Monthly, June, 1999

The author presents the commonly held opinions about crime and then debunks them to set up his thesis: false ideas about crime in this country are leading to harsher prisons.


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