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write an arguable thesis on two of the following prompts
Write an arguable thesis on two of the following prompts.
  • American essayist and social critic H. L. Mencken (1880–1956) wrote, “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.” In a well-written essay, examine the extent to which Mencken’s observation applies to contemporary society, supporting your position with appropriate evidence.
  • In his 2004 book, Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton argues that the chief aim of humorists is not merely to entertain but “to convey with impunity messages that might be dangerous or impossible to state directly.” Because society allows humorists to say things that other people cannot or will not say, de Botton sees humorists as serving a vital function in society.

Think about the implications of de Botton’s view of the role of humorists (cartoonists, stand-up comics, satirical writers, hosts of television programs, etc.). Then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies de Botton’s claim about the vital role of humorists. Use specific, appropriate evidence to develop your position.

from claim to thesis1
From Claim to Thesis
  • To develop a claim into a thesis statement, you have to be more specific about what you intend to argue. In her essay “The C Word in the Hallways,” Anna Quindlen states her main idea explicitly:
    • Yet one solution continues to elude us, and that is ending the ignorance about mental health, and moving it from the margins of care and into the mainstream where it belongs. As surely as any vaccine, this would save lives.
    • First sentence suggests to remove the stigma from mental illness so it can be treated properly. Second sentence draws an analogy.
various types of thesis statements
Various Types of Thesis Statements
  • Closed Thesis Statements
  • Open Thesis Statements
  • Counterargument Thesis Statement
closed thesis statement
Closed Thesis Statement
  • A closed thesis is a statement of the main idea of the argument that also previews the major points the writer intends to make. (Similar to a 3-prong thesis statement in a 5 paragraph essay).
  • It is closed because it limits the number of points the writer will make.
closed thesis statement1
Closed Thesis Statement
  • Let’s consider an example:
    • The three-dimensional character, exciting plot, and complex themes of the Harry Potter series make them not only legendary children’s books but enduring literary classics.
  • The thesis asserts that the series constitutes a “literary classic” and specifies three reasons—characters, plot, and theme—each of which would be discussed in the argument.

**because is typically used in a closed thesis.

benefits for a closed thesis
Benefits for a Closed Thesis
  • A closed thesis is a reliable way to focus a short essay, particularly one written under time constraints.
  • Explicitly stating the points you’ll make can help you organize your thoughts when you’re working against the clock.
  • It can be a way to address specific points that are required by the prompt or argument.
open thesis
Open Thesis
  • An open thesis is one that does not list all the points the writer intends to cover in an essay. If you have six or seven points to cover, for instance, stringing them all out in the thesis will be awkward.
  • Plus, while a reader can remember two or three points, it’s confusing to keep track of a whole string of points made in the opening paragraph.
open thesis statement
Open Thesis Statement
  • Let’s look at this example:
    • The popularity of the Harry Potter series demonstrates that simplicity trumps complexity when it comes to the taste of readers, both young and old.
  • What’s the speaker’s argument in this essay?
  • Do you know what points will be addressed?
benefits of the open thesis
Benefits of the Open Thesis
  • An open thesis statement can be more effective than a closed thesis because it allows for more complex ideas and overall structure.
  • Further, by not revealing your ideas in the introduction, your reader remains intrigued by the points you develop.
counterargument thesis
Counterargument Thesis
  • A counterargument thesis is a variant of the open and closed thesis in which a summary of a counterargument usually qualified by although or but precedes the writer’s opinion.
counterargument thesis1
Counterargument Thesis
  • One more example:
    • Although the Harry Potter series may have some literary merit, its popularity has less to do with storytelling than with merchandising.
  • What is the overall argument of the speaker?
  • What is the counterargument?
benefits for a counterargument thesis
Benefits for a Counterargument Thesis
  • This thesis has the advantage of immediately addressing the counterargument.
  • Addressing the counterargument makes the argument seems both stronger and more reasonable.
  • It may also create a seamless transition to a more thorough concession and refutation later in the argument.

**Notice, this thesis can also lead to a position that is a modification or qualification rather than an absolute statement of support or rejection.

let s take another look
Let’s take another look…
  • Rewrite your original thesis statement in each of these three types of thesis statements.