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I'm always struggling with making introductions and conclusion, How can I write a good hook that attracts my reader and how can I conclude effectively at the end of a literary essay?

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Good question. One answer is practice, and with practice comes confidence and that confidence can then show itself in the gentle persuasion of your body.

Caveat: If you have a specific question to answer for an assignment then deal with it head-on and try not to forget it.

I would start with a blunt statement or something to make the reader sit up. How on Earth did Edna St. Vincent Millay win the 1923 Pulitzer prize for poetry? Make the reader read more to argue or learn. Be sure to leave room for push and shove. That start wasn't saying Millay was a rubbish poet or the jury were idiots. A ghost sentence hovers next: Let's take a closer look.

The body depends on your personal style. (And possibly what straightjackets others might apply.) Now you've got the reader by the hand, take then for a walk and keep referring to the theme. You might use some metaphor or symbolism of your subject to do this.

I've referred to the body because the end is just a wrap-up of the body. Instead of section headings you gave section conclusions. Now comes the logical ending, the buffer-stops for your train of thought.

There's a special thing you can do with the end if you feel like it. After addressing the opening, you might add a two or five words 'and that's that!' or 'Justice at last'. Again this shows you're confident about your opinions. To follow from the above example: So that's my guess as to how Millay won. Lucky to be the different candidate. Not her best work but hey! $1000 can't be bad. This flourish at the end is rampant unsubstantiated opinion. The reason for this is that surely only somebody who really knew their stuff would go out on a limb so provocatively. It's psychology. 'I know things so best agree with me.'

PS. Obviously this works best when you actually do know what you're writing about. Sometimes you might find that your first plan is undermined by your research... Hooray! You have hooked yourself into discovery. Changing your draft is nothing compared with the satisfaction of making a better case for plan-B.

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There are more good ways to begin an essay than there are good writers. (That is fortunate; otherwise, each good writer would be stuck with only one good opening.)

An effective introduction depends on a number of factors that may include your audience, subject matter, and goals for the piece. For example, open an essay on the death imagery in Poe's works with a light-hearted joke, and your audience might think you crass, or worse yet, might not take you seriously. The same joke, however, might work well in an essay on the fool archetype in Shakespeare's comedies.

An effective closing will bring the reader "full circle" by succinctly restating the premise of the essay without seeming repetitive. You, the writer, may do this by finding a fresh way to restate your main point(s) or by elaborating on the original premise based on the evidence (information) provided in the body of your essay.

Best wishes on your writing efforts.

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