The funnel introduction begins with one or two very general sentences about the topic. Each subsequent sentence becomes increasingly focused on the topic until the last sentence, which states very specifically what the essay will be about. Writing a funnel introduction is like focusing a camera. You start with a wide picture and gradually narrow the focus so that just one object appears in the camera’s viewfinder: your thesis statement.
Just how general should the introductory paragraph be? One way to avoid beginning too generally or too far back is to have one key word in the first sentence reappear in the thesis statement, or if not the word itself, a synonym of the word or an idea. In the first introduction below, “visit” echoes “traveling” and the word “country” appears in the first and last sentences.
Examples: Traveling to a foreign country is always interesting, especially if it is a country that is completely different from your own. You can delight in tasting new foods, seeing new sights, and learning about different customs, some of which may seem very curious. If you were to visit my country, for instance, you would probably think that my people have some very strange customs, as these three examples will illustrate.
Moving to a new country can be an exciting, even exhilarating experience. In a new environment, you somehow feel more alive. Seeing new sights, eating new food, hearing the foreign sounds of a new language, and feeling a different climate against your skin stimulate your senses as never before. Soon, however, this sensory bombardment becomes sensory overload. Suddenly, new experiences seem stressful rather than stimulating, and delight turns into discomfort. This is the phenomenon known as culture shock. Culture shock is more than jet lag or homesickness, and it affects nearly everyone who enters a new culture – tourists, business travelers, diplomats, and students alike. Although not everyone experiences culture shock in exactly the same way, many experts agree that it has roughly five stages.
When the first Europeans came to the North American continent, they encountered the completely new cultures of the Native American peoples of North America. Native Americans, who had highly developed cultures in many respects, must have been as curious about the strange European manners and customs as the Europeans were curious about them. As always happens when two or more cultures come into contact, there was a cultural exchange. Native Americans adopted some of the Europeans’ ways, and the Europeans adopted some of their ways. As a result, Native Americans have made many valuable contributions to modern U.S. culture, particularly in the areas of language, art, food, and government.