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Baloo72's avatar

What would be a good idea for a "hook" for an English paper?

Asked by Baloo72 (702points) February 10th, 2009

The paper is going to be about the role prophecy in Macbeth.
1) Prophecy is a plot moving agent – the witches
2) Prophecy can cause overzealous ambition & corruption
3) Prophecy isn’t always “self-fulfilling”
(points two and three are somewhat tied together)

I am in need of a good idea for an “attention grabber” or “hook” for the introduction of this paper. Any ideas?

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14 Answers

fireside's avatar

Start with a prophetic statement.

blastfamy's avatar

“I swear that the witches are an allegory to Ms. Cleo”

You’ll get an A.
I swear.

Baloo72's avatar

@fireside Interesting idea. Thanks.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

How about this, “Is your insurance provider as terrible as mine is”? or maybe “What are some easter eggs you’ve found on google?”

Perhaps open it up with just a simple, “What’s the deal with commas?”

*Unlike fireside, I offer no guarantees. La_chica_gomela consulting is not responsible for anyone else’s bad grades, failed papers, or angry teachers. You are!
Just like she won’t be responsible for anyone else’s good grades, A papers, or happy teachers.
Guess what! You are!

loser's avatar

I always started my papers with “Once upon a time…” I found that to be quite an attention grabber. Of course, it wasn’t always positive attention, mind you, but attention it received!!!

Dog's avatar

I now wish I had read Macbeth rather than Midsummer Nights Dream, chosen for the humor of course

Great question,

Sorceren's avatar

“It was a dank and steamy night…”? “No one could have foretold…”?

Seriously — a hook, or a lede? Seems to me like you have the hook (prophecy is what moves Macbeth and fills it with dark magic), but you’re looking for a great opening paragraph.

Jeruba's avatar

@Baloo72, is that the prescribed way to begin your essay?—with an attention grabber? If you were writing a magazine article, sure, but is essay writing now being taught as something that has to use gimmicks and contrivances to vie for attention instead of simply making an assertion about the topic and then proceeding to make your case and illustrate it with examples?

If I were writing an essay on this topic, I would probably begin with something along these lines: “In Macbeth, prophecy does not simply predict a coming event. It serves as the trigger to project characters into the very future that the prophecy has foretold.” I would then show how each of those prophecies engenders in the character a response that precipitates that action (or doesn’t, if that is the case). And that, back when, would have been an A paper. If that wouldn’t cut it now, you’ve got me.

antimatter's avatar

Start with a prophecy as a ridle, that should work

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Baloo72, start with remembering that the purpose of the assignment is to help prepare you for college level writing.

As Jeruba said, your paper needs to open with a thesis statement that the rest of your paper will defend. You may find this helpful.

sdeutsch's avatar

I don’t know if you’ve heard of funnel introductions, but the day my high school english teacher taught me how to write them, it made essay writing a hundred times easier (sadly, it was my 12th grade english teacher, and not the 9th grade one…)

I often started my papers with a quote or a definition of the topic I was writing about – that’s a nice broad statement that you can then relate to your thesis in some way. I’d recommend checking out dictionaries and websites of quotations, and see if any of them apply to what you’re saying about prophecy. A few of my favorite quotes sites are here and here. If you don’t find anything there, try looking up the definition of “prophecy” and see if you can relate that somehow.

Quotes are always a good attention-grabber – and your teacher will be impressed that you took the time to look it up.

Baloo72's avatar

Sadly enough I think that our teacher this year is not truly preparing us for college. In the previous years we were working towards very organized and research oriented papers/essays. However, now we are given a topic without any real structure. I feel like we have regressed to a middle school or junior high level with our writing: much less formal and organized.

I know I should write a thesis statement and write a formal essay to help prepare for college, but I am just going to “play the game”. I am going to write the paper the way my teacher wants it to be written. . . *sigh.

Jeruba's avatar

And that decision, dear @Baloo72, may not be preparing you for college, but it sure as hell is preparing you for working life.

fireside's avatar

Well, you could always take the lack of restrictions as a great way to focus on doing things the way you would want to see them done. Just like working life, this type of environment gives you enough room to envision something better for yourself.

And that might prepare you to be your own boss someday.

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