Discussion Prompt: Introductions and Conclusions, Part 1
Introductions (openings) and conclusions frame an essay and contribute to the unity of the whole. The introduction sets up the topic and the main idea (thesis). The introduction does two things: it hooks the reader’s interest and points to the direction and scope the essay will take. It prepares the reader for what he or she is about to read. The conclusion reaffirms (restates using different words) the thesis and rounds out the ideas. The conclusion brings the essay to a satisfying close for the reader.
Following are two introductory paragraphs for an essay on the importance of teaching children how to swim. After reading and analyzing the two paragraphs, answer the following questions:
- Which introduction is more effective? Explain your answer. Point out the strengths and weaknesses of each introduction.
- What would the body of this essay consist of (based on your choice of the more effective introduction)? What kinds of evidence would be included? Be specific rather than general in your response.
- Write a suitable title for the essay.
- Who would be suitable audiences for each of these introductions?
Remember to write your response in complete sentences that make sense on their own. In other words, your answers should reflect the question you are answering.
Humans inhabit a world made up of over 70 percent water. In addition to these great bodies of water, we have built millions of swimming pools for sports and leisure activities. At one time or another, most people will be faced with either the danger of drowning or the challenge of aquatic recreation. For these reasons, it is essential that we learn to swim. Being a competitive swimmer and a swimming instructor, I fully realize the importance of knowing how to swim.
Four-year-old Carl, curious like most children, last spring ventured out onto his pool patio. He fell into the pool and, not knowing how to swim, helplessly sank to the bottom. Minutes later, his uncle found the child and brought him to the surface. Since Carl had no pulse, his uncle immediately administered CPR until the paramedics arrived. Eventually, he was revived. During his stay in the hospital, his mother signed him up for beginning swimming classes. Carl was a lucky one. Unlike thousands of other children and adults, he got a second chance.
Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2014). The Bedford handbook (9th ed.). Bedford/St Martin’s.