Thesis Statement

Anatomy of a thesis statement
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Anatomy of a thesis statement

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

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What is a thesis statement?
A thesis is a claim about a work of literature that needs to be supported by evidence and arguments. The thesis statement is the heart of the literary essay and most of your essay will be spent trying to prove this claim. 
Remember it is not a question and needs to be something that you can find evidence of in the novel to support your argument.

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A good thesis will be: 

  • Arguable. “The Great Gatsby describes New York society in the 1920s” isn’t a thesis—it’s a fact.
  • Provable through  evidence from the book:  “Hamlet is a confusing but ultimately very well-written play” is a weak thesis because it offers the writer’s personal opinion about the book. Yes, it’s arguable, but it’s not a claim that can be proved or supported with examples taken from the play itself. 

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  • Question: Would Piggy in The Lord of the Flies make a good island leader if he were given the chance? 

  • Thesis: “Though the intelligent and rational Piggy has the mental characteristics of a good leader, he  lacks the social skills necessary to be an effective one. Golding emphasizes this point by giving Piggy a foil (a character who contrasts with another character)  in the charismatic Jack, whose magnetic personality allows him to capture and wield power effectively, if not always wisely.” 

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Essay Layout
  • Introduction: Your introduction should let the reader know what to expect. What book are you discussing? Which characters? What topic will you be addressing? 
Present your thesis at or very near the end of your introduction. 

  • Body paragraphs: Begin with a strong topic sentence. A good topic sentence  alerts readers to what issue will be discussed in the following paragraph 
  • Conclusion: use the conclusion to quickly summarize the specifics of your essay

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Your essay will be graded as a 2-test
You can think of your own thesis statement 
Or answer ONE of the following questions by using a thesis statement relevant to your book.

It needs to be handed in the English lesson on the 3rd of June

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1. Do you think the setting influence the plot or characters?
If the characters are supposed to be strong characters who triumph over evil, are they in places where evil is clear?
If they are soldiers, are they in a war in a particular place, such as in Hemingway’s stories?
Gulliver travels in imaginary places that strongly influence both the plot and characters.
See how much the setting impacts the story. It will be more than you first suspect, most likely.

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2. How does the author convey his ideas? 
Direct statements. Imagery and symbolism. A character’s thoughts or statements. A character who stands for something 
Overall impression/tone/moral of the book? 

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3. Does the book address broader social issues?
 Does the author take a stance on, for example, anarchy versus capitalism? How is a particular culture or subculture portrayed? 

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4. Why do certain characters act the way they act?
 Does she have an axe to grind, a political ideology, religious belief, or psychological disorder? 

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How to improve your thesis statement
Do you think the setting of the novel influences the plot or characters?

What can we see from this essay question?

  1. Does the setting of the novel influence the plot or characters?
  2. The essay question asks for your opinion. (Do you think....?)
  3. The essay is about the time and/or place of  the novel you have read
  4. Are the story line(s) or the main characters shaped by the setting?

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Here is a student's thesis statement for their introduction: 
How would you improve on it? 
Do you think the setting of the novel influences the plot or characters?

The setting was a key point in the novel, I think the story would have been very different if it had not been set on an island. 

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Model thesis statements
Here are two ways in which the thesis statement could have been written to make it clearer for the reader. 
  1. In my opinion, I think that the setting played a crucial role in the plot line as being marooned on the island  meant that the boys were free from the rules that adult society formerly imposed on them. 
  2.  In my opinion the characters were very much influenced by the setting of the book,  it shows how the boys on the island adapted  differently to their new surroundings and to their new freedom.

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Model introduction
Here is an introduction with a background and thesis statement. 

Lord of the Flies tells the story of a group of English schoolboys marooned on a tropical island after their plane is shot down during a war. Free from the rules and structures of civilization and society, the boys on the island in Lord of the Flies descend into savagery.

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