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Composition/Rhetoric Section of Notebook, Page 1

Writing Introductions for Narrative Essays
Introductions are the beginning part of an essay. In fact, they are the first paragraph or series of paragraphs, as in the case of longer essays. The introductory paragraph(s) often consists/consist of a hook (a device for getting the attention of the reader); necessary information for establishing the context of the situation, problem, or argument to be discussed (background); and the thesis statement (main point). Narrative essays often omit the thesis at the end of the introduction. The hook, often the first sentence but sometimes the first paragraph or paragraphs, is an attention-getting device used by the writer to "hook" the reader and draw him or her into the essay. In narrative essays, the thesis statement sometimes does not appear until the conclusion, and sometimes the thesis is implicit (that means it is never directly stated but must be inferred or figured out by the reader). In-the-Middle/ Summary Hook: I remember Chris and I were on a trip to Canada a few years ago, got about 130 miles and were caught in a warm front of which we had plenty of warning but which we didn't understand. The whole experience was kind of dumb and sad.
-- from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

In-the-middle/Action hook: We were working at the laundry when a delivery boy came from the Rexall drugstore around the corner. He had a pale blue box of pills, but nobody was sick. Reading the label, we saw that it belonged to another Chinese family, Crazy Mary's family. "Not ours," said my father. He pointed the name to the Delivery Ghost [In this narrative, the Chinese refer to all white people as ghosts], who took the pills back. My mother muttered for an hour, and then her anger boiled over. "That ghost! That dead ghost! How dare he come to the wrong house?" She could not concentrate on her marking and pressing. "A mistake! Huh!"
-- from Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Dialogue hook: “Have you dived in the pass yet?” the proprietor of the hotel asked the first evening, when we told him that we liked the diving. “No,” we said, “not yet.” “Ah,” he said, “You must dive the pass. It is the most exciting dive on Rangiroa,” “Why is that?” “The swiftness of the current, and also there are many fish.” “Sharks?” someone asked. “Yes,” he said, smiling, “usually some sharks.” I was in Tahiti for Christmas with my family—my brother and sister, and assorted husbands, wives, girlfriends, friends. We were visiting several island, and we had begun with the most remote.”
-- opening of Michael Crichton’s essay “Sharks” in Travels.

Startling/Disturbing/Surprising Fact or Statement Hook: It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw. The blade kept snagging the skin, and slipping off the smooth base of the forehead. If I made a mistake, I slid to one side or the other, and I would not saw precisely down the center of the nose, the mouth, the chin, the throat. It required tremendous concentration. I had to pay close attention, and at the same time I could not really acknowledge what I was doing, because it was so horrible.
-- opening of Michael Crichton’s essay “Cadaver” in Travels

I had to go to school for that. and go over to Mister Ben's grocery store. By evening the ice melted to water for washing. but I washed my socks and shirt every night. It was a lady's handkerchief. . or shame. my own psychic twin come to visit me and frighten me into being a more obedient child? To this day. huh?" Rhetorical Question Hook: What did I see that night I peered through the slits in the Venetian blinds covering the glass on my grandmother’s door? Was it the eyes of some poor dog or cat stranded in the sudden downpour of the thunderstorm. I brushed my hair and even got me a little old handkerchief. I got sick a lot that winter because the fire would go out at night before the clothes were dry. I'd get a pot. guarded even at the peril of his life. sits between my legs on a red saucer sled. a portal to a moment. and sun is pouring through the kitchen window by the sink. knock jokes and bad puns that wouldn’t stop. My hand reaches out through the swirling mass. and I had been left . I was about seven years old when I got my first big lesson. an access to a parallel universe. whole little worlds. the ends of which were straight-cut across his chest. The dust is still falling. lying in wait for the kitten who has now become a cat. The pipes were frozen again. there was no water in the house. five or six. Orange Who? Orange you glad to see me? It was the summer of knock. the ethical elephant. He smiles at me. I will never see that light again. From under heavy eyebrows his look was direct. through the light. . "Too bad Jacob and mom are asleep.opening of Dick Gregory’s essay “Shame” Character Description Hook: Father was a stern straight man. My brother was in the hospital. I do not know. Humor Hook: Knock. Scoop out some chopped ice. so much like that speck Horton. . -. Knock. particles floating before my eyes. and stick my pot down into his soda machine. In this world. and the ground is covered enough for us to begin this journey. it is snowing and my son. but I didn't want Helene to see me wipe my nose on my hand. Who’s there? Orange. She was always clean and she was smart in school. Then something was likely to happen. In the morning I'd put them on. striking the floor. and I pluck back a world I thought gone. wet or dry. It was the summer that I met Francis. Our family had to whiz around Father like a top round its peg. -. because they were the only clothes I had. or was it my doppelganger. straight side-trim to his beard. I think I went to school then mostly to look at her. a rainbow filtered through a suspended crystal.I never learned hate at home. Straight legs and shoulders.opening of Emily Carr’s essay “Time” in The Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr Setting (Description) Hook: It is Sunday afternoon. saying. a lightcomplexioned little girl with pigtails and nice manners. The flakes have been falling for a long time. though once in a rare while a little twinkle forced its way through. I was in love with a little girl named Helene Tucker.

Page 3 Apt Quotation Hook: When I remember what Oscar Wilde wrote in “The Critic as an Artist. was laid in a box. and the man was shot. -. or noon.C. and carried north and west a thousand miles. lingered a night. and the guard was careless. .Composition/Rhetoric Section of Notebook.. D. people stood with their hats off as the railroad burial car came past at midnight. . trusted a guard to watch at a door. cities wore crepe. bells sobbed. dawn.” that “there is no sin except stupidity. left the door.” I have to admit that my brother is the most sinful person in the world. From our earliest days. he was the dupe of the most amazing schemes.opening of Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years. the beginning of Carl Sandburg’s biography of Lincoln . passed away. but perhaps the most serious and therefore most sinful of all was that incident where he . End-of-the-Story Hook: In the time of the April lilacs in the year 1865. a man in the city of Washington.

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