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Thesis Statements

Thesis Statements. Turning Thematic Statements into Useable Literary Thesis Statements. Thematic Statement vs. Thesis Statement. We’ve already looked at creating thematic statements, but that’s really only halfway to creating a THESIS statement for proper essays and paragraphs.

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Thesis Statements

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  1. Thesis Statements Turning Thematic Statements into Useable Literary Thesis Statements

  2. Thematic Statement vs. Thesis Statement • We’ve already looked at creating thematic statements, but that’s really only halfway to creating a THESIS statement for proper essays and paragraphs

  3. Formula For a Thesis Statement Claim + Reason = Thesis Statement • So far, you only have half of this in place with your thematic statement (the claim). You are MISSING the REASON • Good thesis statements seek to explain the reasoning behind your claim by asking SO WHAT? • Hint: this often means that the word “because” is in many simple thesis statements to act as the “+” (but doesn’t HAVE to be)

  4. Claim • This is the main assertion or idea you are making • You can think of this part as: “The author’s universal truth is [blank]”. • Love has the power to transcend death

  5. Reason • The REASON why your claim exists is an important part of a proper thesis statement • To complete this, look at your thematic statement and ask: • So what? • Why is it important to know this? What can I learn from this? • How does this change the reader’s life?

  6. Examples • For example, you might state: “Hatred will end up destroying the very people who hate the most” (thematic statement for “The Interlopers”) • While this may be a true and universal statement, as a reader, I would ask, “so what?” What is so important or significant about the fact “haters” will be destroyed? And WHY is this a lesson I should learn? • What more can you add to your statement to make it more interesting and more complex? • A BETTER thesis statement might be something like this: “Hatred will end up destroying the very people who hate the most, demonstrating that people should employ forgiveness and seek reconciliation before their hatred consumes them and leads to their demise.”

  7. Literary Thesis Statements • One last missing element of a good thesis statement for ENGLISH class is to make sure there is an element of narrative that focuses your essay • This is specifically for a “literary essay” • i.e. this is good for when a teacher simply says, “Analyze this”. • Do NOT necessarily look for EoNs in ALL thesis statements!

  8. Final “Formula” Author/work information + Element(s) of Narrative/Literary Device(s) + Claim (Thematic Statement) + Reason (why/how/so what?) = thesis statement

  9. Example Element of Narrative Author Info • By examining characterization in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the author’s message that “one’s expectations about love can often be wrong” becomes evident, demonstrating that people should keep an open mind about the nature of true love if they ever wish to find it. Claim (Thematic Statement) So What?

  10. Steps to Follow • 1. Start with the subject of the work (often a theme) • Ex. Relationships • 2. Develop a thematic statement by stating what the author is trying to say about the subject (even if it is a colloquialism) • Ex. “A relationship is something to work hard at”

  11. Steps to Follow • 3. Ask “How?/Why?/So what?” and add your own REASON for why/how this is the message / why it is important to know this. This can be done by examining an element of narrative (plot, character, setting, etc.) • Ex. Even though it’s really just supposed to be funny, a big part of The Simpsons is the message that “good marriages take alot of hard work” and this is seen when you look at the way Homer’s characterization, like, the way he changes how he is to Marge by the end of the episode This is important because even though they have their problems, we can all learn what a good marriage is by watching this show.

  12. Steps to Follow • 4. Clean it up, add the author/work information, and make sure it follows the rules of formal writing. • Ex. Although the primary purpose of The Simpsons is to be satirical, by examining the character development of Homer in various episodes of The Simpsons, it becomes apparent that creator Matt Groening’s assertion that successful marriages take hard work dominates the marital dynamics between Homer and Marge, serving not just as mindless entertainment, but as a positive role model for today’s families.

  13. Practice • Using either of the two short stories studied in class (“The Pedestrian” or “The Test”) or any of the poems that we studied, develop a one sentence THESIS statement (based on a thematic statement that you should have already developed) and be prepared to share it with the class.

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