English 5, Spring '06

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thesis Statement Review

A thesis statement is a sentence (or sentences) that expresses the main ideas of your paper and answers the question or questions posed by your paper. It offers your readers a quick and easy to follow summary of what the paper will be discussing and what you as a writer are setting out to tell them. The thesis is your promise to the reader; it maps out what you are going to prove, and gives you a point of reference to keep your whole essay on track.

Here is a simple way to think about your thesis statement:

Thesis = Topic + Assertion

Your thesis should include the topic you are analyzing, plus a claim or assertion you are trying to make about that topic. Once you have a topic, ask yourself these questions in order to come up with an assertion:
- What is the relationship of my topic to the text’s theme(s)?
- What is the relationship of my topic to character development?
- How is my topic conveyed in the text?
- How does my topic relate to some larger idea outside of the text (such as gender, race, feminism)
- What is the significance of my topic to the meaning of the text?

Now that you have created a thesis, double-check that your thesis is solid by asking yourself:
- Does my thesis have a topic?
- Does my thesis make an assertion about the topic?
- Is my thesis specific enough for the scope of my paper?
- Is my thesis supportable with evidence from the text?


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