What do you mean by a 'Thesis Statement'? Are you scared? ► Don’t let the term 'Thesis Statement' scare you away from writing a good paper. 'Thesis statement' is just a fancy term for a one sentence summary of what the main purpose or point of your paper is. What does it do? ►A thesis statement lets your reader know early on exactly what your essay is going to be about, and it also keeps you focused on your essay's main point. ► It declares what you believe and what you intend to prove. Where does it go? ► You need to place your thesis statement in your introduction usually at the end of the paragraph. What defines a good thesis? ►A good thesis is very specific. ► It proposes an arguable point (there must be pros and cons) ► Proves a point without discussing “everything” ► For example – you choose to discuss abuse, so you state “physical abuse in children… (your argument for or against the effects of physical abuse) ► It should pass the “So what?” or “Who cares?” test ( would your best friend care to respond) Example A water rafting experience can challenge the body and spirit and transform an adolescent into an adult. NOT I enjoy white water rafting. A thesis does not just announce your paper's subject. Steroids, even those legally available, are addictive and should be banned from sports. NOT Steroid abuse OR Though many people dismiss hip hop as offensive, hip hop music offers urban youth an important opportunity for artistic expression, and allows them to articulate the poetry of the street. NOT Hip hop is the best thing that has happened to music in twenty years. A thesis is not the title of your paper. The fat content of today's school lunches is excessive for children. NOT School Lunches Suck A thesis does not just restate simple facts. Our American family structure encourages men to repress their true feelings, leaving them open to physical, psychological, and relationship difficulties. NOT Men are chauvinists. Brainstorming a Thesis ► Frankenstein Topics Discussed ► Thirst for knowledge ► Nature’s influence on the mood ► Deceit can alienate us from society ► Monsters within Select a topic: nature’s influence on the mood Ask an interesting question: What are the effects of nature on our mood? Revise the question into a thesis: In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the characters shift in mood is a direct reflection of what the weather outside is like. Continue work on thesis ► Remember your thesis is only tentative or preliminary. ► You will probably need to revise it at least once. Research for Thesis ► ► Go to the library or database and see what information is available to you. Looking at your research brainstorm a list of topics and themes. Paragraph topics might include: Sunny days Rainy days Thunderstorms Author background Summary of novel linked with evidence that supports how the mood of the story changes based on the weather or how the weather changes to fit the mood. ► Critics information – one that believes the same idea. ► ► ► ► ► ► ► Or I could look at the psychological effects of the “outside” climate and how people react…I would need to look at clinical studies or observations. Choose one topic, one theme, and at least three subtopics – then begin formulating your thesis. Ideas for developing a thesis statement Specific topic + attitude/angle/argument= thesis ► What you plan to argue + how you plan to argue it = thesis ► Although newspapers at the time claimed X, the most significant cause/explanation/reason, etc. is ► While so and so maintains that…, more accurately/importantly _______ position is the stronger one. ► Although, ____ himself may have believed X, the real causes were Y and Z. (for this you would look for a critic who believes differently from you and then proof their research invalid). ► Questions for developing a thesis ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► ► What should the audience/reader do/feel/believe? Who are the major players on both/each side and how did they contribute? What was the impact of? Can I compare? How is X like or unlike Y? What if? Can I predict? How can you defend? Was it effective, justified, defensible, warranted? What were the motives? What is my personal response? What is the signficance? Example Statements ► Much deeper that just a whimsical dream, Carroll uses symbolism, tone, setting, personification, and language to create Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, teaching a lesson of growth in death that every child will go through. ► In the novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson embraces the duality of human nature; however, focusing on only one side of human nature, evil. ► In the novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson reveals that dual personality exists within all of us through setting, characterization, and suspense.