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What Is a Thesis?

Essay by   •  April 6, 2011  •  Study Guide  •  492 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,712 Views

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The Thesis

By Adam Jortner

Your thesis is your essay answer or paper boiled down to one sentence. Get it right and the paper will follow. Flub it, and your reader wont know what you're talking about.

What is a thesis?

The thesis statement is a sentence, usually in the first paragraph of an essay, which encapsulates the essay's argument. Thesis are found in essays of all kinds, as well as textbooks. Poor thesis statements suffer from vagueness; the more precise a writer can be, the better the sentence and the stronger the essay.

An udeal thesis is not only a guide for the reader, it is a guide for the writer. If you become stuck or find yourself writing in circles, a good thesis can be tonic to remind you exactly what you're after. The thesis sentence answers the question, "What is the Heart of the essay?"

How to write a thesis:

Make a splash!

A thesis statement must be something a person could agree or disagree with. Do not include vague words or instances that everyone agrees with, or worse, phrases that don't say anything about the paper itself. A very general thesis gives the reader no information. Give your thesis shape.

Vague: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel Herland offered a view of society that differed from her own culture.

Specific: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel Herland presented a fictional society whose philosophy, economics, and legal system improved upon the real-life society og Gilman's day.

Vague: Shakespeare's play Macbeth and Kurasawa's film Throne of Blood have many similarities and differences.

Specific: Kurusawa's film Throne of Blood shares the plot and themes of Shakespeare's Macbeth, but the two works differ in their cultural setting and valuation of the central character.

An Essay must be organized. The thesis is a mini version of the essay. If the essay isn't organize, the thesis wont be either. An outline forces a writer to put the facts in the way in which they want them to be. The thesis isn't going to organize your facts for you. You have to organize the facts, and when that's done, your thesis will be waiting for you.

A good thesis hits the main point of an essay, not every point. In longer papers, its especially tempting to create a thesis by stringing together the topic sentence of each paragraph. This approach bogs down the opening paragraph; like any run-on sentence, the run-on thesis is a weak approach to writing.

A good way to test for a run-on thesis is to read or have a friend read it aloud. Concise thesis statements

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