Saturday, April 11, 2015

Formulating a Thesis

By: Olympia Georgeson                                                  

When you receive your essay prompt from your professor, first identify which type of essay it is; it may be an expository essay (summary), persuasive/argumentative essay (make case and try to sway reader into thinking your opinion is the best), or analytical essay (analyze and argue). A thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work or historical event based on your analysis of its topic. It consists of three components: Claim, Evidence, and Analysis (the significance of your idea). Since you will most likely be faced with an analytical essay, here is an example of an analytical thesis statement: Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.
The definition of a thesis is:
1)   It is the interpretation of a subject that is debatable.
2)   A thesis can be and if complex enough, probably will be more than one sentence.
3)   A thesis contains key sub points that you can take with you throughout your paper. I think of a thesis as a camping knapsack that holds together the sub points (things that you need for survival: food, lighter, and blanket). The sub points will be the tools that support your argument for the survival of your paper.
4)   Your topic sentences for each body paragraph should not just summarize the subjects of each paragraph but also encompass a part of your thesis argument. An example of a topic sentence that includes a part of one’s argument is: “Selfhood, then, is at best a theatrical creation” (The Ink of Melancholy, Andre Bleikasten).
When conducting thorough research for your essay, form your general questions about the material at hand into one question that sparks your curiosity. A good thesis is derived from a question that you’re passionate or interested about (this will make the writing process a lot more enjoyable!) Finally, analyze your sources with this question in mind by finding supporting evidence that may answer your question. Your thesis will be the answer to your question. 

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