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The Most Important Sentence Essay

1007 words - 5 pages

“It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John & myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.” This is the opening line to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Students are often familiar with the hooks in fiction texts, but then become unfamiliar with those in nonfiction texts. In fiction, characters must be introduced, mystery must be created, and storyline should be introduced. Regardless of the text that follows, the opening line should have a powerful impact on the reader.
The reader’s interest should be peaked by the hook of an essay, and the reader should be hooked before they even know it. “Write your opening sentence like it is a gunshot- blam! - ...view middle of the document...

” “I have chosen to talk about nature vs nurture…” This students opening line caused my interest to fade before I read their paper- simply because my attention wasn’t sparked from the very start.
The second aspect of the hook is the summarization and basicity- which is equally important as the creative attention-getting side. If an opening line is eye-catching but says nothing about the piece as a whole, then it won’t achieve its purpose and the audience will become lost before any of the real information is revealed. The hook should to guide the reader through the story by hinting at what’s to come. When reading one students essay, she started off with this Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” The use of this quote as hook made the reader not only interested, but knowledgeable about the topic of the essay- in only the first two sentences. The “gunshot affect” is apparent in this quote which allows the reader to elaborate on the hook as a whole. “There are many posts on blogs out there advocating the use of short sentences and clear writing, but for the first sentence it is especially important. Short and simple is the way to go!” (Jackson 1) Jackson’s academic journal describes multiple aspects of the hook in order for a powerful impact on the reader. If the hook is too lengthy and wordy, then the reader will get lost before they even read the story. “This is what happened.” It doesn’t get much simpler than this. This, the opening sentence to The Mist manages to get the reader to ask the ultimate question- “What has happened?” The author doesn’t even have to hint at the events to come, but you can tell something bad has happened. This hook is a good example of how brave, simple writing can hook the reader right from the very start.
The hook of an essay needs to have...

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