Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way. Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. There are only strong and weak thesis statements and strong and weak uses of evidence. Let’s look at another example. That presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find the latest publications on this topic. So that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. This will be easy, This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper. A thesis statement: If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft.
A reader of this weak thesis might think What reasons? It ought to be one of the last things that we fuss with in the rewriting process. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. What if we wrote about the problem of community colleges in Connecticut being so close together geographically that they tend to duplicate programs unnecessarily and impinge on each other's turf? Eventually you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why this contrast matters. After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write: 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 This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Most likely a general, appreciative summary of Twain’s novel. What does it signify? Your reader is intrigued but is still thinking, So what? Frankly, it's probably not a good idea for beginning writers. Avoid announcing the thesis statement as if it were a thesis statement. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following: Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Maybe you decide that both sides fought for moral reasons, and that they just focused on different moral issues. The thesis statement is also a good test for the scope of your intent. If necessary, write the thesis statement that way the first time; But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. You will discover that some writers will delay the articulation of the paper's focus, its thesis, until the very end of the paper. It can be the first sentence of an essay, but that often feels like a simplistic, unexciting beginning. Which of these sentences would you say is or are the thesis statement of the essay which is to follow? How are they the same? You turn on the computer and type out the following: The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different. This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It's a matter of limiting our discussion to the work that can be accomplished within a certain number of pages. The thesis statement should remain flexible until the paper is actually finished. Here is the first paragraph of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 's essay The Crisis of American Masculinity. Notice how everything drives the reader toward the last sentence and how that last sentence clearly signals what the rest of this essay is going to do. The first paragraph serves as kind of a funnel opening to the essay which draws and invites readers into the discussion, which is then focused by the thesis statement before the work of the essay actually begins. Can we write a good paper about problems in higher education in the United States? The point is that the process is reversible. If we discover new information in the process of writing our paper that ought to be included in the thesis statement, then we'll have to rewrite our thesis statement. Thesis statement for macbeth tragic hero. Now we have a focus that we can probably write about in a few pages (although more, certainly, could be said) and it would have a good argumentative edge to it. But the question did not ask you to summarize; Instead, she wants you to think about why it’s such a great novel—what do Huck’s adventures tell us about life, about America, about coming of age, about race, etc.? Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment.
Society and go back to nature. This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Can we write a paper about problems within the community college system in Connecticut. Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason. Can we write a good paper about problems in higher education in Connecticut? On the other hand, if we discover that our paper has done adequate work but the thesis statement appears to include things that we haven't actually addressed, then we need to limit that thesis statement. Perhaps you are not sure yet, either. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. This final thesis presents a way of interpreting evidence that illuminates the significance of the question. Keep in mind that this is one of many possible interpretations of the Civil War—it is not the one and only right answer to the question. You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. Your professor is probably not interested in your opinion of the novel; Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: How are they different? In other words, avoid using phrases such as The purpose of this paper is.. or In this paper, I will attempt to.. Such phrases betray this paper to be the work of an amateur. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. That’s fine—begin to work on comparing scenes from the book and see what you discover. The principle to remember is that when you try to do too much, you end up doing less or nothing at all. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration: The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. There isn’t one right answer; Now we're narrowing down to something useful, but once we start writing such a paper, we would find that we're leaving out so much information, so many ideas that even most casual brainstorming would produce, that we're not accomplishing much. What’s the point of this contrast? For guidance on formatting citations, please see the.
If you enjoy using our handouts, we appreciate contributions of acknowledgement. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal. You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper: While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government. Compare this to the original weak thesis. You have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. First, the question asks you to pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write: In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore. Here’s a working thesis with potential: Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. Everything that follows in this essay, then, would have to be something that fits under the umbrella of that thesis statement. Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation. We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout. At best, such a paper would be vague and scattered in its approach. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel:
It asked you to analyze. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information. )A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. Now, push your comparison toward an interpretation—why did one side think slavery was right and the other side think it was wrong? But when you rewrite your paper, eliminate the bald assertion that this is your thesis statement and write the statement itself without that annoying, unnecessary preface. Here are the first two paragraphs of George Orwell's classic essay, Politics and the English Language (1946). Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a working thesis You think. I loved Huckleberry Finn! This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. Ask yourself these same questions and begin to compare Northern and Southern attitudes (perhaps you first think The South believed slavery was right, and the North thought slavery was wrong ). When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming. If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. Well, we're getting there, but that's still an awfully big topic, something we might be able to handle in a book or a Ph. D. If the thesis statement is something that we needed prior approval for, changing it might require the permission of the instructor or thesis committee, but it is better to seek such permission than to write a paper that tries to do too much or that claims to do less than it actually accomplishes. The thesis statement usually appears near the beginning of a paper. You write: While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions. Now you have a working thesis! It's not a matter of being lazy; You grab a pad of paper and write: Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel. Why is this thesis weak? It more frequently appears at or near the end of the first paragraph or two. That is possible if it is clear to thoughtful readers throughout the paper what the business of the essay truly is; Dissertation, but certainly not in a paper meant for a Composition course. Our civilization is decadent, and our language so the argument runs must inevitably share in the general collapse. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.
Click to see what we think is the thesis sentence of this essay. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It does not tell the reader where you are heading. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. To back up such a thesis statement would require a good deal of work, however, and we might be better off if we limited the discussion to an example of how two particular community colleges tend to work in conflict with each other. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions. It is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: As you write the essay, you will probably begin to characterize these differences more precisely, and your working thesis may start to seem too vague. It might help you determine, in fact, that this is your thesis statement.