The three part thesis statement
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Observation + Complication + Significance. The Three-Part Thesis Statement. Purpose of the Thesis. The thesis, usually expressed in one or two sentences , is the central, organizing claim of your paper.

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The Three-Part Thesis Statement

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The three part thesis statement

Observation

+

Complication

+

Significance

The Three-Part Thesis Statement


Purpose of the thesis

Purpose of the Thesis

  • The thesis, usually expressed in one or two sentences, is the central, organizing claim of your paper.

  • Because each paragraph’s job is to drive an argument forward by proving the thesis, the thesis largely determines the type of paper you get to write.

  • If your claim is complex, you have the option of picking the best arguments for your strong paper and having a lot to talk about.


Purpose continued

Purpose Continued

  • Your thesis will almost certainly change as you look more closely at your quotes while writing... This is a good thing, usually leading to a more complex, arguable, and significant central idea.

  • Before you turn your paper in, ALWAYS check to make sure that your thesis matches the argument that you’ve ended up writing! If your essay went in an unexpected direction, revise your thesis to fit the essay that you wrote.


Basic thesis generator

BASIC THESIS GENERATOR

  • Observation: what you’ve noticed in the text

  • Complication: how O works/is used/changes

  • Significance:How O + C together contribute to the author/text’s larger message, reveal larger tensions or concerns, etc

Specific strategy, literary device(s), and/or pattern

What that device, strategy, or pattern does in the text

So What? Why is this important? O + C reveals/suggests/disproves/etc…


Evolving thesis statements o c

Evolving Thesis Statements: O + C

Observation: pattern/device

  • In Melville’s The Tartarus of Maids, images of dead flatness, whiteness, and blankness

  • emphasize the similarities between female factory workers and the homogenous paper products

Complication: creates analogy

Significance: MISSING


Evolving thesis statements c s

Evolving Thesis Statements: C + S

Observation: MISSING

  • Similarities between female factory workers and the homogenous paper products

  • suggest that industrialization dangerously replaces vital human reproduction with lifeless industrial production.

Complication: creates analogy

Significance: reveals historical condition and its hidden effects


Evolving thesis statements o s

Evolving Thesis Statements: O + S

Observation: pattern/device

  • In Melville’s The Tartarus of Maids, images of dead flatness, whiteness, and blankness

  • suggest that industrialization dangerously replaces vital human reproduction with lifeless industrial production.

Complication: MISSING

Significance: reveals historical condition and its hidden effects


Three part o c s thesis

Three-Part (O + C + S) Thesis

Observation: pattern/device

  • In Melville’s The Tartarus of Maids, images of dead flatness, whiteness, and blankness

  • emphasize the similarities between female factory workers and the homogenous paper products

  • thereby suggesting that industrialization dangerously replaces vital human reproduction with lifeless industrial production.

Complication: creates analogy

Significance: reveals historical condition and its hidden effects


Initial thesis what s missing

INITIAL THESIS—WHAT’S MISSING?

  • Behn critiques slavery by having the narrator inadvertently turn the subject of Oroonoko into the subject of consumerism just as slavery turns men into commodities.


Initial thesis what s missing1

INITIAL THESIS—WHAT’S MISSING?

  • Behn critiques slavery by having the narrator inadvertently turn the subject of Oroonoko into the subject of consumerism just as slavery turns men into commodities.

  • #1—More specifics on the literary device/strategy

  • #2—Complication: HOW device/strategy actually works

  • #3—more specifics about WHY this vague “critique” is important, or what exactly this shift is critiquing.

  • #4 – Oroonoko wasn’t italicized as the title not character!


Revised thesis

REVISED THESIS

  • Early in Oroonoko, ambiguity of subject, tone, and pronoun dramatize how language transforms living creatures into property, revealing the hidden complicity of consumerism in the visible economic alchemy of chattel slavery.

  • √ More specifics on the literary devices/strategies

  • √ How Behn actually uses those devices/strategies

  • √ More specific WHY Behn uses that device, the “so what” question


Language problems

Language Problems

Behn uses ambiguous language to show

the changing of people into

things, showing the power of

language in

slavery’s evils.


Language problems revised

Language Problems: Revised

Early in Oroonoko, ambiguity in subject, tone, and syntax dramatize

Behn uses ambiguous language to show

how language transforms living creatures into

the changing of people into

property, revealing the hidden complicity of

things, showing the power of

consumerism in

language in

the visible economic alchemy of chattel slavery.

slavery’s evils.


To sum it up

To Sum It Up:

  • Thesis statements evolve. A thesis with only one or two of the full three is not “bad.” It hasn’t been built up to its optimal level of insight, but that one part is still useful for later evolutions.

  • Keep revising your thesis to match the essay you’re writing and checking to make sure that your essay matches your thesis.


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