How to start an English Lit essay? Watch

lightningdoritos
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#1
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How do you start your essays and what sort of things do you put in the first paragraph?

I'm doing A2 OCR btw
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Cake Faced Kid.
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This was the first paragraph of my English Lit coursework from last year. Obligatory warning about plagiarism etc.

'Feminism and female oppression in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

In the 19th century, women were expected to serve and depend on men, both financially and physically. There were many social standards that were strictly adhered to by women in the fear of being shunned by society. RB Martin (1966) claimed that Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre was the first feminine novel, and it is widely acknowledged that it was pioneering in the campaign for feminism. He states that 'Miss Bronte asks only for the simple [...] recognition that the same heart and the same spirit animate both men and women, and that love is the pairing of equals in these spheres.' Despite Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights both showing some examples of feminism in their characters, Jane Eyre exhibits feminism as a major theme whereas the examples of feminism in Wuthering Heights are far less predominant.'

I usually try to set up a bit of context, usually for my own benefit as it helps me find my rhythm etc. It's also a good place to get some wider reading in, as you can see above.
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Safiya122
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The first paragraph is usually the introduction - so basically mention what you're going to be talking about
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lightningdoritos
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(Original post by Cake Faced Kid.)
This was the first paragraph of my English Lit coursework from last year. Obligatory warning about plagiarism etc.

'Feminism and female oppression in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

In the 19th century, women were expected to serve and depend on men, both financially and physically. There were many social standards that were strictly adhered to by women in the fear of being shunned by society. RB Martin (1966) claimed that Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre was the first feminine novel, and it is widely acknowledged that it was pioneering in the campaign for feminism. He states that 'Miss Bronte asks only for the simple [...] recognition that the same heart and the same spirit animate both men and women, and that love is the pairing of equals in these spheres.' Despite Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights both showing some examples of feminism in their characters, Jane Eyre exhibits feminism as a major theme whereas the examples of feminism in Wuthering Heights are far less predominant.'

I usually try to set up a bit of context, usually for my own benefit as it helps me find my rhythm etc. It's also a good place to get some wider reading in, as you can see above.
Thanks, I was thinking more exam essays though?
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lightningdoritos
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(Original post by Safiya122)
The first paragraph is usually the introduction - so basically mention what you're going to be talking about
So say I'm going to talk about 3 themes, do I just list them out and say "these are the main themes etc???"
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Safiya122
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(Original post by lightningdoritos)
So say I'm going to talk about 3 themes, do I just list them out and say "these are the main themes etc???"
Don't listen them out, mention what they are. An introduction shouldn't be too long, maybe like 4-5 lines
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Cake Faced Kid.
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(Original post by lightningdoritos)
Thanks, I was thinking more exam essays though?
Same kind of thing. Talk about the themes you're going to look at, some background info if you're marked on AO4 (I can't remember much about my exams). A lot of people find it easier to write the introduction last as you can waste valuable time trying to think of a good opening sentence, when in reality, it's the least important part of the essay.
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VannR
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Set up the context for essay - introduce the general issue that is going to be discussed; lay out the purpose of the rest of the essay by outlining the key issues.

These are my guidelines for doing A-Level Philosophy, and I can't see how much would be different for Literature in terms of essay structure.
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Jacob Boris
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It depends on the board, the spec, and which assessment objectives the essay is supposed to cover.
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