The value in writing an interesting essay is that the examiner will be more likely to give you extra marks. Imagine how you would feel if you read thousands of essays and they were factually accurate but didn’t catch the examiner’s imagination or interest. Then out of nowhere he comes across an essay which is
written in a lively thought provoking way. The optimum time to catch the examiner’s attention is at the start of the essay.
Let me take a specific case to illustrate the above. The landmark case of Donoghue v Stevenson (1932) was important in setting down the neighbour test in deciding to whom a duty of care is owed under the tort of negligence. The facts concerned the remnants of a snail in a bottle of ginger beer which was sold to a lady who became ill after drinking from the bottle and sued the manufacturers under the tort of negligence. The manufacturers denied that they owed a duty of care to the lady. In the notorious judgment of Lord Atkin the court decided that:
“You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be, persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in
contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions that are called in question.”
It is correct that the introduction of an essay should set the background and scene for the remainder of the essay. This can be done in a safe predictable but uninspired way with words such as:
“This essay will discuss the ramifications of the judgment set down in Donoghue v Stephenson and its development since”.
Consider how much more interesting the following introduction is:
“Imagine how a partly decomposed snail could cause such a furore in the law of negligence.”
The second example is infinitely more exciting and promises more interesting commentary so the examiner will look forward to reading the entire essay. Of course a snappy title will not compensate for sloppy writing or the application of incorrect legal principles. However an essay which contains correct grammar, spelling and application of the law will be enhanced by an inspiring introduction.
Most people work on the principle that first impressions count in several walks of life. If you are looking for a new house and the first room you are shown is cluttered with belongings and in an untidy state it creates a bad impression and contributes to a negative attitude of the house. When you go towards the next room you are expecting a continuation of shabby, untidy rooms.
Well the same principle is valid when reading an essay so bear this in mind when you begin your writing.