Presentation on theme: "The Thesis Statement. What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement is the most important sentence in your paper. A thesis statement tells your readers."— Presentation transcript:
The Thesis Statement
What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement is the most important sentence in your paper. A thesis statement tells your readers what your essay will be about. In other words, a thesis statement provides a forecast for the entire essay.
Additionally… … an analytical thesis statement usually answers the questions “How?” and “Why?”
What does this mean? The “How” question refers to how the author of a text goes about presenting information or stylistic choices to his readers. When you analyze a text, you write about one aspect or element of the text. You ask yourself, “How does this author fulfill his purpose in this text?”
The answer to the question is the “how” part of your thesis. Your author might fulfill his purpose by: Using a specific tone or style Using specific vocabulary choices Organizing or structuring the text in a certain way Orchestrating a connection between the beginning and ending Using figurative language And, of course, using specific symbolism
Examples of this would be… “In Dracula, Bram Stoker uses the ‘two Lucys’ as twin symbols …” Or “… Dracula himself symbolizes the mysterious Other.”
Each of the previous examples is an acceptable beginning of a working thesis statement because each names the character and the symbolic representation your paper will discuss. They tell your readers which character you will be writing about and what that character symbolizes.
But there’s more… You still need to tell your readers “why”… Why, according to your interpretation, does Stoker use this symbolism?
So, you add another part to the thesis statement: For example: “In Dracula, Bram Stoker uses the ‘two Lucys’ as twin symbols of perfection and repulsion to warn women in Victorian England of the disastrous outcome of becoming a New Woman.” “As an expression of Victorian Era England’s fear of invasion, Dracula himself symbolizes the mysterious Other.”
Also possible: Also possible: A two-sentence thesis: “Stoker uses the Crew of Light to symbolize the ideal man of the age. This symbolism allows readers to understand the values of the late-Victorian era.”
A third possibility: A two-clause thesis: “Harker represents the masculine struggle for identity in the Victorian Era; through his actions and reactions, Stoker demonstrates the confusion about gender that was surfacing near the end of the nineteenth century.”
Additionally, your thesis statement should meet the following requirements: 1. It should be interesting to your readers. Your brain works differently than anyone else’s in this room. Show us a point of view or a perspective we might not have considered before.
… and … 2. It should have precise and specific wording. Try not to use the same words everyone else will use (good, well, bad, etc.). When you’re first composing, put vague words in parentheses. Once you have settled on your idea, go back and refine.
… and … 3. It should be manageable. Don’t try to cover every bit of your paper. Be simple where you can! Note: If you’ve mentioned the author’s full name in the introduction, you can use her/his last name only in the thesis statement. This might help you simplify.
Last but not least Understand that your thesis statement might, and probably will, change as you draft and revise. Oftentimes when we are writing, our ideas becomes clearer or sometimes even shift to a slightly different interpretation. THIS IS OKAY.
Sometimes writers wait until they have drafted an entire paper before truly shaping their thesis statement. They begin with a rough statement, almost a sketch, of what they want their thesis to be, then they write the essay, then they go back and refine the thesis.
This is a good plan! When you think about your thesis, in the beginning, go for the two-sentence approach. Let your first sentence answer the “how” question. Let your second sentence answer the “why” question. Later, you can marry them and find crisp, precise language.