For Seniors—Sample essay introductions

Published on: Author: Ms. Allesandrine Leave a comment

SENIORS, below are four paragraphs for your review. (Sophomores, your blog post is below this one.)
Two of these paragraphs are unsuitable introductions, and two are worthy models. 
Consider the features of each one and be prepared to discuss these in class on Monday.
Please be sure your friends and classmates see this post.  Thank you.  And, please be in touch with me as you write your essay.  Final essays are due by Friday, 3/22.

In “Children of the Sea,” the male narrator is on a boat, but his mind is free.  Even though he cannot leave because the boat is in the middle of the ocean, he can still write to the girl he loves because there is no one to tell him that he can’t.  Because he has this freedom, he writes whatever he wants to let her know that he loves her.  She will never read what he writes, but it is clear that nothing can contain his love.

Confinement of the body restricts movement and physical interaction.  At the same time, however, such confinment may present opportunities for the mind to _________.   This paradox of confinement and freedom can lead to disastrous consequences for someone unprepared to confront, up close, the landscape of his or her mind.  Conversely, such an exploration of one’s mind—one’s choices, reflections, and feelings—can yield profound revelations for one who embraces the opportunity.  In Edwidge Danticat’s short story “Children of the Sea,” the male narrator, a young man confined to a small, unsafe boat adrift on the Atlantic, uses only his notebook to narrate his condition and thoughts to his girlfriend, a young woman confined to her home in Haiti.  Although it is clear that he will never be able to share his writing with her,  the male narrator continues to write until the last moments of his life.  His choice to continue writing, despite his confinement, is the ultimate act of liberation for his mind, culminating in his final choice to make peace with his inevitable fate.

People need to remember their past otherwise they will not know how they became the people they are today.  It is important to have these memories so you will know all that makes you an individual.  In “The Shawl” by Louise Erdrich, the narrator is a man who had a difficult childhood.  His grandmother started trouble for the family when she ran away from her family to be with another man.  The narrator fights with his father and finds out about his past after the fight.  He believes that it is necessary to forget your past, but it is more important to remember.  Despite the difficulty in remembering the past, it is ultimately best to look at the memories so people will have a better idea of the future.

The past offers a powerful mirror, reflecting patterns of behavior that people inevitably repeat.  Of course, whether to stand before this mirror and confront the images is each individual’s choice.  Such scrutiny of the past, while instructive, can prove painful and unsettling.  Rejecting the past and denying the disruptions it brings may seem preferable, but this choice is ultimately more harmful.  Bringing the past into light is the only way for a person to gain necessary perspective on the challenges in the present.  In Louise Erdrich’s short story “The Shawl,” an examination of the past is precisely what yields peace between members of a long-divided family.  Despite the narrator’s assertion that forgetting the past is a necessity, an understanding of the family’s legacy ultimately liberates the narrator and his father from their troubling ghosts.

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