How to Write a Paper 2 Introductory Paragraph: An IB English Tutor's Guide

How to Write a Paper 2 Introductory Paragraph: An IB English Tutor's Guide

Understanding the Question: Before you even begin writing, ensure you fully understand the question. Identify key terms and command words. For example, if the question asks you to “Discuss the significance of setting in both the works you have studied,” your focus should be clear from the onset.

Planning Your Response: It’s essential to plan your essay. A balanced discussion of both texts is crucial. Think about how you’ll address the question directly, showing your understanding of the texts, their contexts, and literary features.

Crafting Your Thesis Statement: Your introductory paragraph should include a thesis statement. This isn't complex; it's simply your main idea or argument, clearly expressed. For example, if discussing the significance of setting, your thesis might explore how the setting influences the characters or themes in your chosen works.

Writing the Introduction: Begin your introduction by briefly introducing the texts and authors. Then, lead into your thesis statement. Keep your language clear and concise. For instance, “In Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ and Gustave Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’, the settings play a pivotal role in shaping the protagonists’ struggles within their respective societal norms.”

Using Effective Language and Structure: Employ clear, direct language. Start with a strong opening sentence that captures the essence of your argument. Parallel structure, rhetorical questions, and periodic sentences can add flair to your writing without sacrificing clarity.

Providing Context: Briefly introduce the context of each text to set the stage for your analysis. This could be a quick mention of the time period, geographical setting, or societal backdrop of each work.

Signposting: Your introduction should also hint at the structure of your essay. For instance, “This essay will first explore the setting of ‘The Bell Jar’, followed by an analysis of ‘Madame Bovary’, to demonstrate how setting underscores the protagonists' journey towards self-identity.”

Avoiding Common Pitfalls: Steer clear of generalizations, overly complex language, or vague statements. Your introduction should be specific to the texts and questions.

Concluding Your Introduction: End your introductory paragraph with a statement that smoothly transitions into the body of your essay. Ensure that it ties back to your thesis.