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Thesis Statements. What’s a thesis? Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It should be your main claim, usually expressed.

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Presentation on theme: "Thesis Statements. What’s a thesis? Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It should be your main claim, usually expressed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thesis Statements

2 What’s a thesis? Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It should be your main claim, usually expressed in a single sentence. It needs to establish a clear argument that you will support with evidence or proof. Remember, your thesis should answer the WHAT and WHY of the prompt.

3 What to include in a thesis? When writing about literature, your thesis should include the title (correctly punctuated) and author. Ex. In A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens displays the importance of living a charitable life in order to achieve true happiness.

4 What should I avoid? A thesis is not a one-word statement of theme:  In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, war is a prevalent topic.  In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien asserts that the overpowering nature of war destroys all innocence and purity.

5 A thesis is not an announcement of the subject:  My subject is that homework is a poor use of time – SHOW don’t TELL!  Homework is an ineffective learning tool because students should be able to receive all the information they need in the seven hours they spend at school each day.

6 A thesis is not a statement of absolute fact:  William Shakespeare is the author of Macbeth. In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses the title character to demonstrate that a guilty conscience is inescapable and can have tragic consequences.

7 Quick Checklist _____ The thesis/claim follows the guidelines outlined. _____ The thesis/claim matches the requirements and goals of the assignment (answers the prompt) _____ The thesis/claim is clear and recognizable. _____ The thesis/claim creates a position/argument that can be supported by textual evidence.

8 Let’s practice! Is the Internet a valuable tool for research? Does holding a part-time job benefit high school students?

9 A few more! What is the importance of good v. evil in epic poems such as Beowulf? What does Sir Gawain and the Green Knight teach us about the attributes of being a “good” person?

10 Introduction

11 What is the purpose of the introduction? The introduction of an essay is designed to grab the reader’s attention and spark interest in the essay, giving the reader an idea of the essay’s focus.

12 Begin with an attention grabber or hook  Interesting information  This information must be true and verifiable, and it doesn't need to be totally new to your readers. It could be a related fact that illustrates the point you wish to make. This fact should be followed by a sentence or two of elaboration.  Anecdote An anecdote is a story that illustrates a point. Be sure your anecdote is short, to the point, and relevant to your topic. This can be a very effective opener for your essay, but use it carefully!

13 What else can I use?  Quotation An appropriate quotation does not have to identify the speaker, but the reader must understand the point you are trying to convey.  The quotation must be introduced or surrounded by your words (not just dropped into the paragraph). Quotations MUST be followed by a sentence or two of explanation.  Summary Information A few sentences explaining your topic in general terms can lead the reader to your thesis. Each sentence should become gradually more specific until you reach your thesis.

14 Then what? After the hook, spend several sentences outlining the points you will cover in your body paragraphs. This should help you transition from your hook to your thesis statement. Finish the paragraph with your thesis statement. Visualize your introduction as broad to specific. You will reverse this process in your conclusion. “Grabber” with information thesis

15 Example What do you consider to be the greatest invention that has shaped human’s lives and why? Thesis: Intro/grabber:

16 Conclusions

17 What’s in the conclusion? The purpose of your conclusion is to wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument.

18 What does the conclusion look like? Conclusions may also call for action or possible connections to the larger world/society. Restate Thesis Broader connections; real-world significance Summarize key points in 2-3 sentences.

19 In other words, you should: 1. Restate your thesis/claim in different words. 2. Summarize main points from body paragraphs – although this is a summary piece, try to state these points in new and original ways. 3. Connect to the real world or society – think about the larger importance/significance of your argument.

20 You should avoid: Bringing in new information – you won’t have time to prove new information, so don’t include it here. Using “you” – don’t address the reader in your conclusion. Incorporating irrelevant information – even if you feel repetitive, you should stick to your main points in the conclusion.

21 Body Paragraphs

22 The Body Paragraph Your paper should be organized in a manner that moves from general to specific information. Once you are in this specific information, you need to remain specific throughout your body paragraphs. Body paragraphs stay in the specific, providing details and analysis and connecting to your thesis.

23 Being specific! As the paragraph or paper progresses, you should become more and more focused on the argument, ending with specific, detailed evidence supporting your claim. Lastly, you need to explain how and why the information you have just provided connects to and supports your thesis. Without this last piece, you have not made the full connection for your reader!

24 The 5 Elements of the Body Paragraph 1. A topic sentence that tells the reader what you will be discussing in the paragraph.  Paper Topic Example: How the Civil Rights Movement Affected America  Thesis Statement Example: Racism in America is less of a problem today than in the past because of the Civil Rights Movement. Body Paragraph #1, Topic Sentence Example: The Civil Rights Movement was a result of increasing tensions between races which heightened in the 1960s.

25 Evidence 2. Specific evidence that supports one of your claims and provides a deeper level of detail than your topic sentence. Make sure this is related to your paragraph – don’t wander off topic!

26 Analysis 3. Analysis of your evidence. Rather than assuming the reader knows how your evidence connects to your thesis, you need to analyze and evaluate HOW this connection takes place. In a literary analysis paper, it is crucial to summarize or explain your quotation and then ANALYZE its importance.

27 Wrap it up! 4. A brief wrap-up sentence that tells the reader how and why this information supports the paper’s thesis. The brief wrap-up is also known as the warrant. The warrant is important to your argument because it connects your reasoning and support to your thesis, and it shows that the information in the paragraph is related to your thesis and helps defend it.

28 Transitions 5. A transition sentence leading in from a previous paragraph to assure smooth reading. This acts as a hand-off from one idea to the next. DO NOT END YOUR BODY PARAGRAPH WITH A QUOTATION!!

29 It is virtually impossible to think of a task that people complete with sole independence these days. Whether examining large-world applications such as the interdependence of tribes in the Amazon, to local applications such as a visit to the grocery store, efficiency depends on many people completing individual tasks. Even when going to the grocery store, one is dependent on many others to do their jobs. The farmer must grow the food, the truck driver must deliver it, and the stocking employees must load it off and put it on the shelves. Thanks to this complex system of task completion and interdependence, society is able to function at the highest level possible, enabling individual and collective success.


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