Blog 17 - Paradoxical Introduction

Paradoxical Introduction

Acts of Inquiry, University of Washington, 2013

" . . .appeals to readers' curiosity by pointing out an aspect of the topic that runs counter to their expectations.  Just as an interrogative introduction draws readers in by asking a question, a paradoxical introdcution draws reader in by saying, in effect "Here's something completely surprising and unlikely about this issue, but this essay will go on to show that it is true."

102101-347x346-Incorrect Yin Yang

And Another Thing . . . 

     This might be your most powerful argumentative Introduction because it establishes your credibility (Ethos) early on.  Most people don't speak unless they know something (unfortunately, too many do), so having an opinion that runs contrary to popular opinion becomes a powerful tool to engage the reader.  They want to see if you are right or wrong, and if you have the chops to get them in your camp.

      One warning: if this is where you are headed, you better have your ducks in a row; you need to know what you are saying, why you are saying it.  For this reason, we will rely on the Paradoxical Introduction for your Major Paper; it deals with contrast -- the most powerful writing tool.

     Argumentation requires balancing alternative views with your own.  


1. Watch Documentary of Your Choice; take notes on the contrasting parts

2. Quick Google Search on Issue -- doesn't need to be official 

3. Read Establishing a Context for a Thesis (COI, 155-171)

4. In your Introduction, argue for the side you don't agree with (utilize classification, narration, cause and effect)

5. Combine summary, exact quote, and embedded quote

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