Thesis Statement Basics



Download 15,17 Kb.
Date conversion17.07.2017
Size15,17 Kb.

Thesis Statement Basics

  • Mr. Edmund
  • Coronado High School
  • English Dept.
  • What works for a thesis statement?
  • What doesn’t?

A thesis statement is a declarative sentence… a sentence or expression that makes an arguable statement.

  • Although I am not an artist, I can draw stick figures quite well. (Stop laughing.)

Thesis statements are not titles or fragments.

    • Title: My first smoking experience
    • Thesis: Although all my friends thought cigarettes were stylish, I discovered that smoking is actually a disgusting habit with many health risks.

Find the thesis…

  • Finding a solution to campus parking problems.
  • To solve the lack of parking space at Sierra College, administrators should use lottery funds to build parking lots.

Thesis statements are not questions.

  • Question: How could we still tolerate sexism in the military today?
  • Thesis: Even though Americans claim to be enlightened about sexism, sexist language and behaviors still prevail in the military.
  • Is that why they are called thesis statements and not thesis questions?

Find the thesis…

  • Because of its simplicity, accuracy, and lack of toxicity, biofeedback is often a successful technique for migraine relief.
  • Why are biofeedback techniques excellent methods of stress reduction?

Thesis statements are not commands.

  • Command: Note the difference between cooks and chefs.
  • Thesis: Although meals prepared by either cooks or chefs can be equally delicious, chefs differ from cooks in education, professional commitment, and artistry.

Find the thesis…

  • Observe what happened to me during my first white water rafting experience.
  • My first white water rafting experience challenged my body, my mind, and my spirit, transforming me into an adult.

A thesis statement is an arguable idea.

Thesis statements are not facts

  • Fact: Cortez conquered Mexico in 1509.
  • Thesis: The colonial mentality which prompted Cortez’s barbaric invasion of Mexico brought about not an advance of native society but a destruction of Aztec culture.
  • “Ouch!”

Find the thesis…

  • When I was six, my parents took me on a trip to Alaska where I experienced my first tragedy.
  • Witnessing the death of my brother in an Alaskan avalanche last winter horrified me at the time but in retrospect taught me to appreciate the small things in life, to value my relationships, and to trust God.

Thesis statements are not announcements

  • Announcement: This essay will explain my reasons for supporting capital punishment for first-degree murder.
  • Thesis: First-degree murderers should receive capital punishment because there are too many repeat offenders.

Find the thesis…

  • First degree murderers should receive capital punishment because there are too many repeat offenders, because rehabilitation programs have proved ineffective, and because murder is too harsh a crime to be punished by anything less than death.
  • This essay will explain my reasons for supporting capital punishment for first-degree murderers.

Thesis statements are not obvious

  • Obvious: Litter creates pollution of the environment. (Duh!)
  • Thesis: Recycling programs, though expensive at first, are ultimately an efficient, cost effective, and environmentally sound means of reducing waste in our environment.

Find the thesis…

  • Even though computers have their idiosyncrasies, they have improved our lives tremendously by simplifying word processing, streamlining data storage, and promoting an international exchange of information.
  • The computer was an important technological advancement in the twentieth century.
  • Duh!

Thesis statements are not unarguable personal opinions.

  • Opinion: My favorite color is green. (So?)
  • Thesis: Colors do more than indicate personal preference: they reveal emotions, indicate purpose, act symbolically, and influence subconscious thoughts.

Find the thesis…

  • I like chocolate. (Like 99.9% of people.)
  • Even though chocolate tantalizes my taste buds and satiates my emotional need to be loved, it causes weight gain, clogs arteries, and contains caffeine.

Thesis statements are specific and narrowed

  • Broad: Men are chauvinists.
  • Narrow: Men who repress their true feelings leave themselves open to physical, psychological, and relationship difficulties.

Thesis statements cover only one topic.

  • Many Topics: Marijuana and television pornography should not be legalized because they negatively influence young children.
  • One Topic: Medicinal marijuana use should not be legalized because it creates problems for peace officers, physicians, and parents.

Find the thesis…

  • Flaubert’s Emma Bovary is a tragic character because, never seeing reality, she misses some important clues that her life has gone awry, and she falls from her social “height” into prostitution.
  • The theme, characters, setting, irony, conflicts, and plot all contribute to making Madame Bovary a tragedy.

Thesis statements focus the essay and guide its direction

  • Unfocused: Martin Luther King, Jr. is a role model for everyone to follow.
  • Focused: Because of his determination, his courage to follow his beliefs, and his unwavering sense of justice, Martin Luther King, Jr. is a symbol of American freedom.

Find the thesis…

  • Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is a candid portrayal of Chinese American mother-daughter relationships.
  • In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan skillfully illustrates how cultural, generational, and internal conflicts between Chinese American mothers and daughters all add to the difficulty of the immigrant experience.

Thesis statements are worthy of development in an academic paper and interest an adult audience!

Thesis statements are not simplistic.

  • Simplistic: Cats and dogs look and act differently.
  • More interesting: Though seemingly adorable and tame, mountain lion cubs are actually wild, dangerous predators.

So what?

  • So what?
  • Remember that your audience wants to learn something new !

Thesis statements are not immature or tasteless.

  • Tasteless: Passing gas in an elevator was extremely embarrassing moment for me because I learned that I had a problem and that others are more observant than I had thought.
  • Suitable: Though the product of slick advertising, psyllium does not effectively deal with flatulence, diverticulosis, or colon cancer.

Thesis statements are concise.

  • ALL WORDS SHOULD BE NECESSARY!
  • CUT WHAT DOESN’T FIT!

Examples

  • Wordy: Censorship should be banned by everyone in all circumstances and all states in the nation because it destroys the rights of free speech guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States since the Constitution was written by John Hancock and all of the other statesmen.
  • Concise: Censorship should be banned in the United States because it destroys the constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech.

In my opinion, it is evident that requiring vehicles purchased before a certain date to go through two smog checks and forcing drivers to pay extra money for the whole procedure is a bureaucratic ploy to elect certain officials to high offices and to raise funds for state transportation departments in dire need of addictional resources to waste on more bureaucratic folderol by creating more unfinished projects.

  • In my opinion, it is evident that requiring vehicles purchased before a certain date to go through two smog checks and forcing drivers to pay extra money for the whole procedure is a bureaucratic ploy to elect certain officials to high offices and to raise funds for state transportation departments in dire need of addictional resources to waste on more bureaucratic folderol by creating more unfinished projects.
  • Boring!

Better?

  • Requiring vehicles purchased before 1981 to receive two smog checks is a wasteful political ploy for election and funding.

Now that you know what not to do…

  • How about a little bit more information on what works?

What is the first step in writing a thesis statement?

  • First the basics…

Decide on your topic.

  • For example:
  • Poetry in my English textbook.

Narrow your topic

  • Contrast gender characteristics in two poems
  • Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” contrasted with John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud”
  •                    

Put your topic in a sentence.

  • Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” is different from John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud.

Add your argument to make your thesis persuasive

  • Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” is essentially a more feminine poem, while John Donne’s “Death be Not Proud” is more masculine.

Incorporate Occasion/Position Words

  • In order that…
  • If…
  • After…
  • Since…
  • Before…
  • So that…
  • Whenever…
  • As long as…
  • As…
  • Even though…
  • Although…
  • Unless…
  • While…
  • When…
  • Even...
  • As if…
  • Whether…
  • Until…
  • Where…
  • Though…
  • Even if…
  • Because…
  • Wherever...
  • As soon as…

Occasion/Position Statements

  • Using these words will help you create a complex sentence where you have the occasion for writing
        • Then a comma
  • And then the “position” you plan to take---what you plan to prove or explain.
  • ,

Occasion

  • Even though bike helmets are sometimes unfashionable and uncomfortable
  • all cyclists should wear them.
  • Occasion
  • Position
  • ,
  • ,
  • Dependent Clause
  • Independent Clause
  • ,

Elaborate on your thesis so it addresses all of your assignment.

  • Although Emily Dickinson and John Donne both personify death in their poems, the tone, language, and images are clearly feminine in “Because I could not stop for Death,” and masculine in “Death Be Not Proud.”

Organize your thesis to guide the direction of your paper.

  • Although Emily Dickinson and John Donne both personify death in their poems the tone, images, and language are clearly more feminine in “Because I could not stop for Death,” than in “Death Be Not Proud.”

Almost there!

  • Do you know what is missing?

Edit your thesis for content, word choice, precision, and mechanics.

  • Although Emily Dickinson and John Donne both personify death in their poems, the images, language, and tone clearly reveal a woman’s perspective in “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” and a man’s perspective in “Holy Sonnet 10.”

THE END

  • Remember to restate your thesis in your conclusion!

Works Cited

  • Sierra College Writing Center
  • Step Up to Writing
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Donne
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Dickinson


The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2016
send message

    Main page