How to make the introduction to an analytical essay: stand out
When you are writing an analytical essay your goal is to provide an analysis that is thorough and supported by evidence. But no matter how pristine your analysis might be if you do not have an introduction that stands out then it won’t do you much good. You need to ensure your introduction grabs the reader’s attention so that they keep reading. If you fail to cultivate an outstanding introduction then the reader won’t want to continue and your argument/analysis-no matter how great-will go unseen.
So what is the purpose of the introduction?
No matter the type of essay you are writing you need an introduction. Why? Because the introduction--in conjunction with the conclusion--are what frame your argument. They frame the argument you make exactly like a picture frame frames the photo inside.
So how is the introduction set up?
The introduction should be set up in such a way that it offers the reader a road map. The reader needs a map to show them where they are going throughout the course of your essay. They need to see where your analysis will take them and what they will learn along the way. You should obviously only allude to the points you will be making and not include all of your arguments/evidence in the introduction. You should include roughly one sentence for every paragraph in your body. Each sentence explains a short version of what is included in that particular paragraph.
What about the thesis statement?
The thesis statement is what tells the reader why your essay matters. The reader should know right off the bat the purpose of your essay. They should know by the time they finish reading your introductory paragraph why it matters and why they should care. They should know what your particular analysis gives to the world.
Remember that the thesis statement does not have to be the first or last line of your introduction. Many students believe that they have to include it as the last line of their introductory paragraph or the first but this is not true. You are free to include it where ever you want so long as it is somewhere in the introduction. If you want to open with a striking quote and lead into your thesis statement and then follow it with a thought provoking question that is your prerogative.