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Constructing Powerful Thesis Statements

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Presentation on theme: "Constructing Powerful Thesis Statements"— Presentation transcript:

1 Constructing Powerful Thesis Statements

2 General Tips for Constructing a Thesis Statement
Thesis is the central idea or point you are trying to convince your reader to accept. It is the statement of the subject and purpose of your paper. The thesis statement will take a position and create an argument for your essay (what you will say about the topic). Think of the thesis as your answer to the essay question in one clear and concise statement. Your essay will explain the thesis statement with specific ideas and evidence that always relate back to the thesis. Clearly state the overall idea you are going to develop and discuss in your essay.

3 Thesis Statements When responding to literature, your insights are the focus of your essay. To help your reader appreciate your insights, a well-worded thesis is essential. From your thesis, your readers should have a clear understanding of what you would have them understand or appreciate about the topic on which you are writing. A well developed thesis makes the difference between a thoughtful informed essay and a simple retelling of facts or unstructured or unsupported opinions.

4 Declare, Declare, Declare!
A clear thesis statement is a declarative sentence with no qualifiers (a word that sets limits). For example, do not use the words might, maybe or perhaps. A clear thesis statement does not include vague words like someone, something, somewhere, somehow, etc.

5 Topic and Controlling Idea
It is not enough to merely restate the topic. You must also add your idea and answer to the question. The controlling idea must be specific enough to answer the question and broad enough that you can develop and discuss with specific ideas in your essay body paragraphs.

6 Theme-Like Statements
Focus your essay for your reader into theme-like specific statements. Theme: theme is the central, controlling or dominating idea in a literary work. Ask yourself, “What is the theme of the essay I will write?” You should also ask yourself, “Does my thesis inspire the audience to ask how or why?”

7 Writing Insightful Theme Statements:
A theme statement should be a complete sentence about the main idea of a work. An insightful theme statement tells readers clearly and concisely what they may learn from a careful reading of the literature. The faulty theme statement describes a topic, not a theme. In general, a theme cannot be explained well in one word. Ambition is simply an attribute of character. A better theme statement will explain what ambition has to do with the drama Macbeth. The revised theme statement is more insightful because it tells us what we might learn from the play. By witnessing Macbeth's demise, we can learn of the potential consequences of excessive ambition. Faulty Theme Statement Revised and Corrected Theme Statement The theme of Macbeth is ambition. The theme of Macbeth is that excessive ambition can bring about a person's downfall.

8 Sample Topic and Thesis Statement
Topic: Write an essay based on literature that you have studied in which the author examines personal freedom and its effects on individual lives. What idea does the author develop regarding personal freedom? Thesis Statement: In the play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller develops the characters to demonstrate the idea that personal freedom is limited by a lack of success.

9 Sample Topic and Thesis Statement
Topic: What idea does the author develop regarding the significance of an individual’s perspective? Thesis Statement: The idea that an individual’s point of view shifts when faced with adversity is portrayed by the director Gus Van Sant’s utilization of character development in the film Finding Forrester.

10 Sample Topic and Thesis Statement
Discuss the ideas developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the role adversity plays in shaping an individual’s identity. Thesis Statement: In the play A Doll’s House, the author Heinrich Ibsen utilizes character development to suggest the idea that adverse situations have the power to disrupt an individual’s normality and consequently inspire a change of identity.

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