Analytical Essay Grabber

And you have to find perfect hooks for an essay even when you don’t know what to write about.

When you are asked to write an essay, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to express your own thoughts and creativity. An essay shouldn’t be boring or too formal. As a writer, your first priority is to make sure that you are keeping your audience in mind and writing for them and to them. That means grabbing and keeping their attention so that they want to read every word.

This is exactly why the essay hook exists and is such an important tool.

The use of hooks in writing goes far beyond just essays and college papers. Every writer, copywriter, screenwriter, and storyteller uses this device to draw in readers and keep them hooked. For example, world-famous ad executive, David Ogilvy, relied on a list of 29 “magic words” that he used in titles in order to hook a client’s attention.

College essay hooks can be difficult to generate, especially when you are still working on clarifying what your essay is going to say. So, the very first step in writing a strong essay hook is to do some planning.

  • A literary quote
  • This type of hook is appropriate when you are writing about a particular author, story, literary phenomenon, book, etc. Using a quote will make your essay sound fresh and establish your authority as an author.

    Examples:

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These words of Nick Carraway perfectly describe…”

    “Not all those who wander are lost.” And yes, indeed, every person is so…”

    “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Agree or not, but these words from The Alchemist determine…”

  • Quotes from Famous People
  • Including a quote from an authoritative and influential person can help support your argument and create an intriguing hook. The key is to make sure that you clearly show how the quote is relevant to your essay.

    Examples:

    “John Wooden once said, ‘Never mistake activity for achievement.'”

    “Learn to laugh” were the first words from my kindergarten teacher after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.

  • Anecdote
  • Don’t be afraid to employ this type of hook. Remember, even if you start with a humorous anecdote, it doesn’t mean that your entire essay has to be funny. A bit of humor can help you grab readers’ attention and spark their interest in the topic.

    Examples:

    “As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.”

    “When I was a young boy, my father worked at a coal mine. For 27 years, he made it his occupation to scrape and claw and grunt his way into the bowels of the earth, searching for fuel. On April 19, 2004, the bowels of the earth clawed back.”

    Keep in mind that most essay assignments will ask you to avoid using the first person. Be sure to check any requirements before using “I” in your writing.

  • Pose a Question
  • Almost nothing can attract interest better than a well-constructed question. Readers will want to continue reading your essay in order to discover the answer. Be sure to avoid simple “Yes” or “No” questions and try to pose questions that ask reader to consider the other side or engage in some critical thinking.

    Examples:

    “What would you do if you could play God for a day? That’s exactly what the leaders of the tiny island nation of Guam tried to answer.”

    “Have you ever wondered, whether Anna Karenina still loved Alexei if she hadn’t decided to commit a suicide?”

  • Set a Scene
  • People respond well to visual cues. Taking the time to set a detailed scene will help your reader have a clear picture in their minds and create an effective hook. You can describe an incident or detail the particular features of a person or a character to help the readers become immersed in your writing.

    Examples:

    “The day of his birth began with Hurricane Charlie pounding at our door in Charleston, South Carolina.”

    “Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.”

  • Include an Interesting Fact or Definition
  • These types of hooks start by surprising the reader with something that may not have known. Provide an interesting fact about something you are going to discuss in your essay’s body and your audience will want to keep reading to learn more.

    Examples:

    “Spain, though hardly a literary juggernaut, translates more books in one year than the entire Arab world has in the past one thousand years.”

    “Amiable is the best way to describe Elizabeth’s personality: she was friendly and caring.”

  • State Your Thesis
  • There is no harm in getting right to the point. Start with your main argument and use the rest of your essay to support your point of view. If you have an interesting take on a subject, readers will want to see where you came up with your idea.

    Examples:

    “It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday. . .”

    “Humans need to invest more time and money into space exploration because Earth is on a certain path to destruction.”

  • Reveal a Common Misconception
  • The most interesting essays will teach the readers something new. If you start your introduction by showing that a commonly accepted truth is actually false, your readers will be instantly hooked.

    Examples:

    “Any parent will tell you that goldfish are a great first pet for a child. They hardly need any attention, and they won’t be around for too long. Flushing a goldfish in its first week is pretty common—it even happened to my first goldfish. But it turns out that goldfish aren’t as helpless as we all think.”

    “While most coffee enthusiasts would tell you that their favorite drink comes from a bean, they would be wrong. Coffee is actually made from a seed that is simply called a bean.”

  • Statistics
  • By listing proven facts at the very beginning of your paper, you will create interest that can be carried throughout the rest of the essay.

    Examples:

    “The average iceberg weighs over 100,000 metric tons.”

    “70% of all jobs found today were got through different networking strategies”

    We started getting requests about editing help, tutoring or recommending someone for essay writing. Here’s the page to visit for more information: bid4papers.com/write-my-essay.

    Depending on the style of essay you are writing (narrative, persuasive, personal, critical, argumentative, deductive, etc.), the type of hook you will want to use will vary. Remember, your essay hook is just a tip of an iceberg and it will not guarantee that the rest of your essay will work. Be sure to organize your research and start with an outline before deciding on the best hook to start your essay. The right choice can make your paper truly interesting and worth reading.

    Written by Lesley J. Vos, our blog writer and essay proofreader. Lesley is a big fan of reading, and she is always ready to help students come up with good ideas for their papers and reach their academic goals. You can always find her on Facebook and Google+.

    You’ve been staring at your blank computer screen for what feels like hours, trying to figure out how to start your analytical essay. You try to choose between writing the introduction first or getting right into the meat of it. But somehow, it seems too difficult to do either.

    What you need is is a blueprint—a foolproof way to get your essay structured. Then all you have to do is fill in the blanks.

    By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Don’t worry—consider me your architect. I’m here to give you an analytical essay outline that’ll make writing the final draft (relatively) painless.

    What an Analytical Essay Is—And What It Isn’t

    Before we get to the good stuff, you should know exactly what an analytical essay is. Your middle school and high school teachers probably told you something like, “An analytical essay is writing that analyzes a text.”

    Helpful, right? Um, not so much.

    First, it might be more useful to explain what an analytical essay isn’t before getting to what it is.

    An analytical essay isn’t a summary. Though this may seem obvious in theory, it’s more difficult in practice. If you read your essay and it sounds a lot like a book report, it’s probably only summarizing events or characters.

    One way to figure out if you’re summarizing instead of analyzing is to look at your support. Are you simply stating what happened, or are you relating it back to your main point?

    Okay, so what is an analytical essay, exactly?

    Usually, it’s writing that has a more narrowed focus than a summary. Analytical essays usually concentrate on how the book or poem was written—for example, how certain themes present themselves in the story, or how the use of metaphor brings a certain meaning to a poem.

    In short, this type of essay requires you to look at the smaller parts of the work to help shed light on the larger picture.

    An example of a prompt—and the example I’m going to use for the rest of this post—could be something like: Analyze the theme of sacrifice in the Harry Potter series. (Note: there might be some spoilers, but I figured everyone who was planning on reading the books has done so already—or at least has seen the movies.)

    One Way To Form Your Analytical Essay Outline

    There are quite a few ways to organize your analytical essay, but no matter how you choose to write it, your essay should always have three main parts:

    1. Introduction
    2. Body
    3. Conclusion

    I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of this soon, but for all you visual learners, here is a nice representation of all the components that make a great analytical essay outline.

    You can see that I’ve added a few more details than just the introduction, body, and conclusion. But hold your horses—we’re getting to those parts right now.

    Introduction of Your Analytical Essay Outline

    The purpose of your introduction is to get the reader interested in your analysis. The introduction should include at least three things—a hook, your thesis statement, and a sentence or two describing how you intend to prove your thesis statement.

    1. You gotta hook ‘em from the start. The first part of your introduction should draw the reader in. This is called the hook.

    The hook should be interesting or surprising. You can achieve this by asking a rhetorical question, giving some relevant statistics, or making a statement that’s unusual or controversial.

    For my Harry Potter example, I might say, “Since the publication of the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, some Christian groups have attacked the books for promoting witchcraft. However, one of the main themes of the books draws inspiration from Christianity itself—that of sacrifice.”

    Okay, so that’s two sentences. But it’s got a little bit of controversy and relates to what the rest of the essay will discuss.

    2. Get to the good stuff—write a killer thesis statement. Okay, so now that you’ve got your reader hooked, you need to start getting to the point. This is where the thesis statement comes in.

    My thesis might be, “The theme of sacrifice is prevalent throughout the series and is embodied as sacrifice for the greater good, sacrifice for an ultimate gain, and sacrifice to keep a promise.”

    3. It’s time to back up your thesis. Let the reader know how you’re going to prove your claim.

    For my example, I would let the reader know that I intend to analyze the instances of Harry’s “death,” Voldemort’s sacrifice of his soul in exchange for immortality, and how Snape sacrifices in order to honor a promise made to Lily Potter.

    These points will be the building blocks of the body paragraphs.

    Body of Your Analytical Essay Outline

    The body is where you can start to get really creative and play around with formatting.

    In the flowchart, there are three body paragraphs. But that’s because I was trained in the 5-paragraph outline. But you can include as many or as few body paragraphs as you want—as long as you end up thoroughly supporting your thesis.

    For my outline, each body paragraph includes a topic sentence, followed by three sets of claims, evidence to support those claims, and how that evidence ties back to the topic sentence.

    Again, three is not necessarily a magic number here. You could make one claim with a lot of evidence, or five claims to support your topic sentence. But let’s get into it, shall we?

    1. Develop a strong topic sentence. Each topic sentence in each body paragraph of your analytical essay outline should tell the reader exactly what that section is going to be about.

    My first body paragraph might start with, “Harry Potter is willing to fulfill prophecy and make the ultimate sacrifice—that of his life—in order to save the rest of the wizarding world.”

    2. Make your claim. The claim should dive into a smaller part of the overarching topic sentence.

    The topic sentence I gave can be broken down into several smaller claims—that Harry knew that he was fulfilling prophecy, that he was actually willing to die, and that his death would be of profound significance.

    3. Provide evidence from the text to back your claim. You can’t just go around making claims without any support. You can use quotes or paraphrase parts of the text to add evidence.

    For evidence that Harry knew that he was fulfilling prophecy, you could cite the instance in the hall of prophecies with the quote, “and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.”

    4. Tie that evidence to the topic sentence. You have to make it absolutely clear why you included the evidence. If you don’t, your analytical essay runs the risk of being a summary.

    For example, with the citing of the prophecy, I would tell the reader that Harry and his friends found said prophecy and figured out that it had to be about him (although there are objections that it could’ve been referring to Neville, but we’ll leave that out of this example). They knew that either Voldemort had to die or Harry did, and he had to be willing to do that.

    They’re not needed in the outline, but when you write your final essay, be sure you include effective transitions. This will help your essay flow.

    Conclusion of Your Analytical Essay Outline

    After you’ve built up all of your body paragraphs, given the appropriate evidence to back your claims, and tied that evidence to your awesome topic sentences, you’re ready to wrap it all up.

    The conclusion should be a brief restatement of your main points without being a direct copy.

    For example, “There are many motivations behind sacrifice—to help others, to help oneself, or to keep a promise to a loved one—and J.K. Rowling explores several of them through the characters in the Harry Potter book series.”

    This, of course, does not suffice as a full conclusion. To fill it out and give the reader a sense of closure, you can relate the theme to the real world or end with a final quote from the text or the author.

    Use This Downloadable Analytical Essay Outline as a Guide

    Easy, right? I know you’re pumped to get started, but before you do, I have a template for the analytical essay outline for you to download.

    Download the Analytical Essay Outline Template PDF

    Download the Analytical Essay Outline Template (.doc)

    Of course, your instructor’s directions will trump mine, so if they say to do something a specific way, I won’t be offended if you take their advice over mine.

    Need more help? Check out these analytical essay examples.

    And don’t forget about the Kibin editors. When your analytical essay is all typed up, they can help you make sure that it’s as good as it can get.

    Now… get to it!

    Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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