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?
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
What defines a good thesis?
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
► It should pass the “So what?” or “Who cares?” test
( would your best friend care to respond)
A water rafting experience can challenge the
body and spirit and transform an adolescent
into an adult.
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.
Steroid abuse
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.
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.
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.
Men are chauvinists.
Brainstorming a Thesis
 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
► You will probably need to revise it at least
Research for Thesis
Go to the library or database and see what information is available to
Looking at your research brainstorm a list of topics and themes.
 Paragraph topics might include:
Sunny days
Rainy days
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
► 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
Specific topic + attitude/angle/argument= thesis
► What you plan to argue + how you plan to argue it =
► 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
► 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.

What do you mean by a 'Thesis Statement'?