THESIS
STATEMENTS
The Road Map to a Great Writer’s
Journey
***BRAINSTORM ***
***Search for Evidence***
***Reflect***
HOW DOES THE WRITER
FORMULATE A THESIS
STATEMENT?
• Broad Subject-----A Christmas Carol
• Specific Topic-----Bob Cratchit
• Question about the Topic----Why is
he important to the story?
Check the thesis statement: topic
+ debatable opinion
•
•
•
Can the writer identify the topic of the thesis
statement?
The subject might be a symbol, character,
motif, archetype, or an aspect of DIDLS
(diction, imagery, details, language, sentence
structure).
Can the writer identify the opinion? Or does
the statement merely identify something in the
text?
Check the thesis statement: topic
+ debatable opinion
•
•
Does the thesis merely summarize
or only point out an obvious detail or
pattern?
Does the diction in the thesis
include vague or abstract words
that contain too many meanings,
thus preventing a clear focus?
Examples of thesis statements
without an opinion
• *Ebenezer Scrooge is forced to remember events
of the past.
• *Huck and Jim experience several conflicts during
their travel down the river.
• *There are many symbols in the book.
• *Dickens repeats images of “hands” throughout
the novel.
• *Matthew Arnold’s sea metaphor plays a
significant role in the poem.
Examples of thesis
statements with an opinion
•
*Scrooge’s encounters with the
ghosts illustrate the transformative
power of memory.
• *Huck’s and Jim’s friendship moves
through three stages: the meeting,
the challenge and survival, and
developing love.
Examples of thesis
statements with an opinion
• *The archetype of clothing reflects Huck’s desire
for individuality.
• *In Great Expectations, the hands motif indicates
Pip’s location in the journey toward maturity.
•
*The sea metaphor allows Matthew Arnold to
develop a political commentary on the Victorian
Age, a time in which man is isolated and void of
religious conviction, a situation that can only be
rectified by human love.
A PAPER CAN BE WITHOUT
AN INTRODUCTION, BUT IT
MUST HAVE A THESIS.
The Thesis should address
topic, debatable opinion, and
universal idea.
AGAIN, THE THREE
ELEMENTS THE THESIS
MUST HAVE ARE:
1.topic---direction
2.debatable opinion---claim
3.universal---idea
The claim is the opinion----the
verb/verbs will indicate the
claim.
Examples----argues,
reflects, indicates, develops,
proves, allows,
Justifies, reveals
The verb should push the
claim or force the argument.
The universal idea should go
beyond the text.
Always-------REVIEW your
THESIS STATEMENT and
INDICATE THE DIRECTION,
CLAIM, AND UNIVERSAL
IDEA.
After writing the thesis
statement, what next?
Organize your evidence.
Allow the evidence to
determine the organization of
the essay.
After organizing evidence,
what should the writer do?
• Create topic sentences.
• Topic sentence (TS) = Organizing
Element + Aspect of Thesis
Organization Choices
•
•
•
•
Time/Chronological.
Thesis: The conch in Lord of the Flies
represents the decay of order and
civilization.
TS1
In chapter one, the conch is
discovered and revered for its power to
call the children to an ordered meeting.
TS2 In chapter three, the conch
shows signs of losing it civilizing power.
Organization Choices
•
•
•
•
•
Word glue in bold.
Place/Spatial. Organize according to locations
in the text.
Thesis: The marriages in Great
Expectations depict the variety of virtues and
vices presenting this British community.
TS1
Near the story’s beginning, the reader
encounters the home of Joe and Mrs. Joe, a
home where truth and innocence are preyed
upon.
Organization Choices
• TS2
Later, the reader visits the
Pockets’ home, a place of idleness and
self-centeredness.
• Thesis: In The Scarlet Letter, Hester
models the emotional strength
uncharacteristic of a stereotypical
seventeenth century woman.
Organization Choices
• TS1
Exiting the prison door,
Hester’s demeanor shows the reader
her assertiveness.
• TS2
At the governor’s house,
Hester forcefully displays her
confidence.
**Important to remember a
TS (topic sentence) is not a
plot detail only. A topic
sentence that contains only a
plot detail does not
communicate an organization
choice or an aspect of the
thesis.
For example, Piggy discovers
the conch near the lagoon in
chapter one is a plot detail
and not a topic sentence.
Organization Choices
•
•
Idea/Rhetorical Mode. Organize by
definition, a classification, an
analogy/comparison, a
comparison/contrast, or a cause-effect.
Thesis: In The Tempest Prospero
possesses the qualities of leadership
which all communities hope to produce.
Organization Choices
• Thesis: In The Tempest Prospero
possesses the qualities of leadership
which all communities hope to
produce.
• TS1
Prospero demonstrates an
ability to restrain his emotions.
Organization Choices
• Thesis: In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer
uses his characters to explore three moral
categories.
• TS1
The lowest level Chaucer
describes is one of complete depravity.
• TS2
Chaucer’s second moral plane is
defined by the perpetration of evil acts:
sloth, selfishness, and hypocrisy.
Organization Choices
• Thesis: In Great Expectations Pip finds
himself in a situation paralleling the
parable of the prodigal son.
• TS1
The Bible’s parable begins with
the prodigal son who, dissatisfied with his
present situation in life, asks his father
for his inheritance.
Organization Choices
• TS2
After he leaves his home and
father, Pip, the prodigal, squanders his
inheritance on a life of dissipation.
• Thesis: In A Tale of Two Cities, the
battle between the human and the inhuman
is resolved, with Stryver fleeing as a
hypocrite and the unlikely Carton rising as
a phoenix to save humanity.
Organization Choices
• TS1
The reader first meets Stryver,
the self-important opportunist,
contrasted to Carton, a self-deprecating
servant, at the trial of Charles Darnay in
the Old Bailey.
• TS2
Next, in Stryver’s office the
reader glimpses the nightly business
interactions between an underestimate
jackal and a roaring lion.
CHECK THE DICTION OF
THE TOPIC SENTENCES
• WORD GLUE
• Does the writer use word glue to connect
the topic with the thesis? The writer may
use synonyms or exact words. The writer
or reader should be able to draw circles
around common words in the thesis and
topic sentences. If the writer cannot, the
reader might not understand how the
writer plans to prove the argument. Look
at the example which follows:
CHECK THE DICTION OF
THE TOPIC SENTENCES
• ORIGINAL FIRST TOPIC SENTENCE
•
Pip lives in a household of violence and poor
relationships. (plot detail)
• REVISED
•
Pip first encounters the impressionable stage
of childhood, wherein Pip is not yet able to
evaluate situations critically; consequently, Pip
surmises an association between hands and
acrimonious relationships.
CHECK THE DICTION OF
THE TOPIC SENTENCES
• ORIGINIAL SECOND TOPIC
SENTENCE
•
Pip begins to hate his life at the
forge after he visits Miss Havisham
and Estella. (fact from a chapter)
REVISED
• Shortly after early childhood, Pip
begins to grow into the more
contemplative stage of
preadolescence, a stage in which he
begins to question his surroundings
as well as draw conclusions about
them.
Thesis
• Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient
Mariner” illustrates man’s proclivity
since the Fall to sin without cause, to
possess the opportunity of
reconciliation, and to have the option
to do penance, all in hopes of
receiving forgiveness.
ORIGINAL FIRST
TOPIC SENTENCE
• The mariner’s misfortunes begin by
abruptly and without cause killing the
albatross. (plot detail)
REVISED
• Since the Fall, man often discovers
himself sinning without cause and
sometimes without explanation.
ORIGINAL THIRD
TOPIC SENTENCE
• The narrator learns that the Mariner
must now tell his tale. (plot detail)
REVISED
• With reconciliation comes penance,
another stage on a path to
forgiveness.
PURPOSE
• Obviously, the topic sentence must relate
to the purpose.
• The Topic sentence becomes the thesis
for a paragraph and it must also have a
direction, a claim, and a universal idea.
• Each paragraph must have an order--chronological, spatial, etc.
Thesis Statement Review
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THESIS STATEMENTS