As you can see, Ada, Ziggy, and Joey's introductions differ quite a bit. It is interesting to see that with each of their drafts, their own sense of self and their life experiences take prominence when they approach the topic or define identity. For example, Joey clearly made his theater background evident when he quoted Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech in his opening line. These individual markers of identity and of students' own voices make each essay a potentially interesting read. So now, we are going to unpack each student writer's draft introduction. Ada attempts to define identity by viewing it from different angles. She first defines it in terms of one's context and then in terms of one's personality with respect to who or what we are, then in terms of a script that we need to perform as social beings. She goes on to offer Woodward's definition of identity as that which makes us not only the same, but also different. Ada aligns herself with this definition. This is in fact her thesis statement or position. We are not sure whether she views identity as something that is fixed or something that's evolving. What could have enhanced this introduction would be her views on the topic. What happens to this identity as individual moved across borders? Does it change or does it remain the same? Ziggy offers a more personal account of identity. He defines identity in terms of Black African identity. This is an identity he later strongly embraces, which he presents against the backdrop of the dehumanizing colonial apparatus. He sees identity as something fixed, tied to the land and the community, and laments the loss incurred as people were stripped of their belongings and forced into slavery. His definition also echoes the Zulu concept of ubuntu, a term which means "I am because we are." which is evident in his description of himself as part of a collective as connected to the ancestors. His position on the topic, or his thesis statement, is that loss also happens at home. One does not need to cross borders to experience it, as is evident in the African historical context. Ziggy tries to paraphrase Woodward, stating that "identity is what holds us together as distinctive social beings." While Woodward does allude to this, she is clear to show that identity is not fixed. It is socially constructed and can evolve over time. Therefore, considering Woodward's argument, it would be interesting to see how Ziggy would respond to this view in the way that he has defined identity. Joey starts with the existential dilemma of "To be or not to be." This Shakespearean quote does suggest, firstly, that identity is central to one's being, and secondly, that it can be contradictory and even change. Throughout his introduction, Joey tussles with the idea of what is real and what is fake. He makes a plea for individuals to be true to who they really are, assuming that there is some form of core identity that does not change even when they cross borders. This call for authenticity contradicts the playfulness of choosing to be or not to be and makes being true to oneself almost a moral obligation. As such, his response to what happens to the identity of individuals as they move across borders is a moral one that they ought not to change. This is his position (or thesis statement). It would be interesting to trace this view throughout his essay. In fact, he could strengthen this position by drawing on some of the scholars in the field. What is also distinctive in his introduction is his informal tone with the use of terms such as "Hello!!" and the use of imageries such as "smell the roses!!" And also, his use of contractions as in the case of "they're" and "doesn't". Generally, in the context of the university, Joey would be advised to write in a more formal register and to avoid using overly conversational terms such as "hello", and also to steer clear of contractions by writing the full words, such as "they are" instead of "they're" and "does not" instead of "doesn't". However, it is possible to take some creative license as Joey does, but this is dependent on the writing task, the discipline, and who assesses the writing. So don't take these things for granted. Be sure to check with the instructors concerned what is allowed and what is not. So, all of these drafts have their strengths and potentials for the essay to follow. They all have individual voices. What is evident is that there isn't a strict formula for writing an introduction. Some writers start with a hook, something that will captivate the reader, such as Joey's opening line, "To be or not to be." Others start with a question or a broad context such as "Black African identity has been under siege for centuries on the African continent." It is certainly useful to define key terms and some of the issues that they raise, and to position yourself in relation to those definitions. This will help you to situate yourself in the debate. We can see this type of movement, from defining a concept to occupying a position, in Ada's introduction for example. Ada occupies a strong personal stance here when she states "But as Woodward argues, identity is not just about what we have in common with those who share in our identity, it's also about what makes us different to others who do not look, sound, dress, act and view the world the way we do! I feel very close to this issue of identity, as it is an extremely sensitive and personal issue for me." It is a strong stance because she makes it clear where her alignment lies when she relates her views to Woodward's. Of course, your initial introduction should be seen as only a starting point, a collection of ideas that you will later adapt to fit into your story or argument. You might revisit it once you have written the essay. Another key point about introductions is that they provide a roadmap of what the essay will do. I always jot down a rough introduction before writing so that my introduction tells me what moves I need to make. In that way, I break the writing task into manageable parts, parts that I can work on and complete within reasonable time. Of course, this changes as the writing happens. For example, an early introduction could say something like, "In this essay I will consider the views of certain authors with respect to identity. I will then compare their views to see if both authors regard identity as something that is constructed. Do these authors provide enough detail regarding whether certain aspects of identity can remain the same?" A later introduction will present your views with respect to identity with more clarity. For example, "In this essay, I argue like Woodward, that identity is a matter of choice but also a product of social structures." So just to recap, the key feature of an introduction is the thesis statement or position. Make sure to follow through with this position throughout your essay.