Let's talk about terminology for a moment before we discuss what it is you need for your essay. In an essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, the sentence that sets up the body paragraphs, at the end of the introduction, is a thesis statement. A topic sentence is the first sentence of a body paragraph, telling the reader what just one body paragraph is about. A "hook" is designed to grab the...
Let's talk about terminology for a moment before we discuss what it is you need for your essay. In an essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, the sentence that sets up the body paragraphs, at the end of the introduction, is a thesis statement. A topic sentence is the first sentence of a body paragraph, telling the reader what just one body paragraph is about. A "hook" is designed to grab the reader's attention, but a hook and a thesis statement are by no means necessarily the same thing.
A thesis statement is meant to state your main idea and give the reader a road map to the body paragraphs. In a compare and contrast essay, your main idea is going to be whatever conclusion you draw from your assessing the similarities and differences in the religions. There needs to be a purpose to comparing and contrasting anything and that should be clear in the thesis statement.
Let me give you an example of how this works. I might, after studying these religions, come to the conclusion that they all have similar ethical concerns. So, here is a thesis statement I might have:
In spite of all the differences among the world's five major religions, they have very similar ethical constructs, which should encourage more mutual respect among them.
That tells the reader my main idea, which is the idea of respect among different religious beliefs. It also tells the reader that I am going to be looking at the differences in religions,then the similarities, and then I will argue for more mutual respect. So, the reader knows what my main point is and how I'm going to support it.
What have you learned in your study of these religions? Do you see more differences than similarities? Perhaps you find the differences to be so profound there can be no meeting of minds. Whatever you have learned, form an idea about it, and then go on to support it.
Starting With a Hook
Have you ever read a sentence that was so incredibly interesting, or mysterious, or thought-provoking, that you just had to keep reading? Starting with a hook sentence is one of the best ways to start your paragraph. It hooks your readers and leaves them wanting to learn more or it makes them wonder what comes next. Try these suggestions for using hook sentences in your writing.
- Start with a question. Asking your readers to think about the topic is a great way to get them ready to hear more. It can be a simple question like, "Could it be?" Or it can be a more complex question like, "Why is it that cats always land on their feet?"
- Use descriptive words. Creating a picture in the reader’s mind can make him or her feel connected to your writing. Use words that describe the scene you’re trying to create. For example, if you’re writing about things you like to do in the winter, you can start with, "Jumping in big, slushy, icy puddles is certainly on my list of favorite things to do in the winter, but nothing tops a snowball fight on a cold, blustery day."
- Leave it a mystery. Give your readers just enough to make them curious. Include a few details and leave the rest to their imaginations. Try something like, "It was so noisy in our classroom that the walls began to shake. We couldn’t have known what would happen next."
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