Writing a thesis statement essay

Writing an essay
An essay: is defined as "a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writer's opinion."
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Writing an essay
An essay: is defined as "a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writer's opinion."

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We are going to write a Thesis Statement Essay
What is a thesis statement ?
The one or two sentences at the beginning of your essay which contains the main point, idea or theme of your paper, reflected throughout your essay, is what we call the thesis statement.
Not only does the thesis statement state your ideas in one or two sentences, but it also exposes the topic of your essay and your position thereon. It should tell your reader what the essay is about and should help guide your writing and focus your argument.

In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe explores the effects of colonialism on a particular society. Your approach may be to focus on the impact such action had on Ibo culture, its beliefs and its laws, or you could focus on its influence on individuals, such as the protagonist, Okonkwo . You may extend the focus of your essay to discuss the effects of Imperialism on the Ibo society as a whole and mention its influence on individuals. You may consider either the positive or negative outcomes, or focus on...

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 1 - Develop a thesis
Your thesis statement is the main point of your essay. It is essentially one sentence that says what the essay is about. For example, your thesis statement might be "Dogs are descended from wolves." You can then use this as the basic premise to write your entire essay, remembering that all of the different points throughout need to lead back to this one main thesis. You should usually state your thesis in your introductory paragraph.

The thesis statement should be broad enough that you have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can't be thorough.

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2- Outline your essay 
The next step is to outline what you are going to write about. This means you want to essentially draw the skeleton of your paper. Writing an outline can help to ensure your paper is logical, well organized and flows properly.

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How to organise your essay
Start by writing the thesis statement at the top, and then write a topic sentence for each paragraph below that. This means you should know exactly what each of your paragraphs is going to be about before you write them.
Don't jumble too many ideas in each paragraph or the reader may become confused.
Ensure you have transitions between paragraphs so the reader understands how the paper flows from one idea to the next.

Fill in supporting facts from your research under each paragraph. Make sure each paragraph ties back to your thesis and creates a cohesive, understandable essay.

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Fill in supporting facts from your research under each paragraph. Make sure each paragraph ties back to your thesis and creates a cohesive, understandable essay.

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3 - Write your essay
Once you have an outline, it's time to start writing. Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay.

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4 - Edit your writing to check spelling and grammar
Check for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. You cannot always count on spell check to recognize every spelling error. Sometimes, you can spell a word incorrectly but your misspelling will also be a word, such as spelling "from" as "form."

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The structure of an essay
Introduction : 
  • General statement or orientation to topic
  • Thesis statement
  •  Brief summary of the main topics/arguments/points made in the essay

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DO – Pay Attention to Your Introductory Paragraph
Because this is the first paragraph of your essay it is your opportunity to give the reader the best first impression possible. The introductory paragraph not only gives the reader an idea of what you will talk about but also shows them how you will talk about it. Put a disproportionate amount of effort into this – more than the 20% a simple calculation would suggest – and you will be rewarded accordingly.
DO NOT – Use Passive Voice or I/My

Active voice, wherein the subjects direct actions rather than let the actions "happen to" them – "he scored a 97%" instead of "he was given a 97%" – is a much more powerful and attention-grabbing way to write. At the same time, unless it is a personal narrative, avoid personal pronouns like I, My, or Me. Try instead to be more general and you will have your reader hooked.

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Body paragraphs:
  • Topic sentence A.  
  Supporting sentence 1
Possibly supporting sentence 2
  • Topic sentence B.    
supporting sentence 1
Possibly supporting sentence 2
  • Topic sentence C.    
supporting sentence 1
Possibly supporting sentence 2

You should aim for three body paragraphs if possible (two are just about acceptable). Make sure you introduce each of these paragraphs clearly - (topic sentence) and support your argument with at least one quote or incident from the book.

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DO – Tie Things Together

The first sentence – the topic sentence - of your body paragraphs needs to have a lot individual pieces to be truly effective. Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should (ideally) also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together. For example, if you used "first" in the first body paragraph then you should used "secondly" in the second or "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" accordingly.
DO NOT – Be Too General

Examples should be relevant to the thesis and so should the explanatory details you provide for them. It can be hard to summarize the full richness of a given example in just a few lines so make them count. If you are trying to explain why George Washington is a great example of a strong leader, for instance, his childhood adventure with the cherry tree (though interesting in another essay) should probably be skipped over.

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Restatement or summary of the main points made in the body paragraphs and a final comment (if appropriate)

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DO – Be Powerful

The conclusion paragraph can be a difficult paragraph to write effectively but, as it is your last chance to convince or otherwise impress the reader, it is worth investing some time in. Take this opportunity to restate your thesis with confidence; if you present your argument as "obvious" then the reader might just do the same.
DO NOT – Copy the First Paragraph

Although you can reuse the same key words in the conclusion as you did in the introduction, try not to copy whole phrases word for word. Instead, try to use this last paragraph to really show your skills as a writer by being as artful in your rephrasing as possible.

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Choose one topic and write an essay.
Topic One
The protagonist of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo  could be considered a tragic hero. A tragic hero holds a position of power and prestige, chooses his course of action, possesses a tragic flaw, and gains awareness of circumstances that lead to his fall. Okonkwo's tragic flaw is his fear of weakness and failure.

Essay Tip: Look for quotes and descriptions in the book that describe Okonkwo's strengths and weaknesses, Throughout his life, he wages a never ending battle for status; his life is dominated by the fear of weakness and failure, find examples of this to prove the thesis statement. 

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Topic two
 Consider the question of whether the customs and traditions of Igbo society do more harm than good. If you follow this route for an essay, remember not to be ethnocentric and not make value judgments on their beliefs, instead just examine if such customs cause more problems than they solve using the text (not your personal opinions) as your support.

Throughout “Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the role of customs and traditions is incredibly important and decides the fate of men, women, and children. Some of the customs practiced in this culture would certainly be frowned upon in the West yet are perfectly acceptable in Igbo culture. For instance, the idea that a child should be murdered or that the spirits of the dead must be appeased can have grave consequences for some characters.

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Topic three (with extra help)
In Chapter 7 of Things Fall Apart, Achebe describes the events leading to the sacrifice of Ikemefuna. Reread the chapter and
analyze how Achebe creates tension and conveys sympathy for Ikemefuna in this chapter. Focus on these details: preparation for/beginning of the journey, Ikemefuna’s feelings, and his death. Then describe the effect of these techniques on you as the reader.

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Thesis statement
In Things Fall Apart, Achebe uses many techniques to create tension & create sympathy for the death of Ikemefuna. His descriptions of the journey, Ikemefuna’s feelings, & his death all help achieve his purpose. These techniques combine to have a powerful effect on the reader.

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Brainstorming/Outline for Essay
For each bullet point, find quotes & details from the story that help establish tension & sympathy.

Preparations for/beginning of journey:
  • Description of men’s clothing & actions
  • How Achebe hints at the tragedy to follow
  •  Contrast between the silence of the group & the noise of the village
  • Sense of urgency which develops

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Ikemefuna’s feelings:
• His feelings towards Okonkwo
• Use of questions to show his thoughts
• Fears about his family
• How do these help create sympathy for his situation?

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Ikemefuna’s death:

• Description of his fear
• Description of Okonkwo’s actions
• Effect of Ikemefuna’s last words on the reader

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Or choose your own thesis statement
Remember it is not a question and needs to be something that you can find evidence of in the novel to support your argument.

You might want to look back through the LessonUp's for Things Fall Apart to find a  suitable essay topic and thesis statement. 

The essasy will be graded as a 2 test

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