When responding to an essay question, make sure you begin by developing a word bank of synonyms that allow you to personalise your thesis and argument. Write the question out in such a way that there is space to add word lists – this is also useful practice for planning an essay in an exam. The opening sentence of your introduction, or thesis, must show a personal engagement with the question or statement. Consider this question and key concepts:
The essence of Wilfred Owen’s poetry is an intense focus on extraordinary human experiences.
Discuss Owen’s portrayal of suffering and pity.
Synonyms for key words could look like this:
Then it is easier to write a thesis using different words from the actual question which suggests personal engagement with, and understanding of, the key elements that need to be included in your discussion.
Read the following introduction scaffold. Does the thesis establish solid links with the key concepts of the question? The blank spaces allow you to choose which poems to discuss, and which synonyms would work best for your explanation.
Fundamental to poetry texts is the ability to convey a _______ understanding of humanity. Wilfred Owen, a combatant in the First World War, shares a _______ perspective on the reality of war. _______ reveals _______, while _______ provides a glimpse of _______ agony. In _______, Owen demonstrates the wisdom of experienced soldiers. In detailing the misery and distress of the battlefield, we develop _______ for the extreme _______ of a generation.
*length of line is not an indication of word length