Writing a Thesis Statement Writing A Thesis Statement 1. A thesis statement is a road map for your essay; it tells the reader what you will be writing about without saying "I will be writing about..." 2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
Writing a Thesis Statement 3. A thesis statement should offer a way of understanding the topic. (For example, in the essay about Cinderella, the topic was Cinderella and the thesis statement told the reader that one way of understanding the story is the idea that Cinderella’s inner beauty makes her more beautiful than those who just have outer beauty.)
Writing a Thesis Statement 4. A thesis statement is usually a single sentence in your introductory paragraph that presents your argument or position or interpretation to the reader. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader that your argument or position or interpretation makes sense.
Writing a Thesis Statement 5. A thesis statement should contain one specific reason or piece of evidence for each body paragraph in your essay. 6. If your thesis statement and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It's ok to change your thesis statement to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always revise your writing as necessary.
Writing a Thesis Statement • Before I write my thesis statement, I have to decide the direction I want my essay to take. • What do I want to focus on? I can't talk about everything in my life in a five-paragraph essay. Remember, in a five-paragraph essay, I can talk about ____ specific things (reasons or pieces of evidence) and those things must be mentioned in my thesis statement.
Writing a Thesis Statement • Also, since my thesis statement comes at the end of my introduction, it must relate to my introduction or it won't make sense. • Writing an essay is about thinking and putting the pieces together like a puzzle or a car. In my five-paragraph essay, I could talk about: • how my life changed when my dad came home or • what we did as a family after my dad came home or • about what it was like growing up in the '50's and '60's.
Writing a Thesis Statement • A five-paragraph essay is too short to talk about all of these. I just need to decide on a direction and come up with a thesis statement that contains ____ reasons or pieces of evidence. • Examples: • If I wanted to write about how my life changed when my father came home, my thesis statement could say something like: "When my dad finally came home, my life changed because I was daddy's little girl, my dad was very moody, and my dad was able to take me more places. Notice that my thesis statement has _____ reasons or ______ pieces of evidence as to how my life changed.
Writing a Thesis Statement • If I wanted to write about what we did as a family after my dad came home, my thesis statement could say something like: "After my father came home, our family went on more trips to visit relatives, took more vacations, and welcomed a new little sister." • If I wanted to write about growing up in the '50's and '60's, my thesis statement could be something like: "Just like today, a lot of parents were returning from the military in the '50's and '60's, and this resulted in more babies being born, more cars on the road, and more TVs being sold.
Writing a Thesis Statement • I decide to take my essay in the direction of the first choice. It seems more personal to me and seems to fit better with the introduction. I add my thesis statement to the end of my introductory paragraph: • This is what my completed introductory paragraph, ending with my thesis statement, looks like:
Writing a Thesis Statement My father was in the Army when I was born. He didn’t get to see me until I was a little over one year old. My mother told me that my father was “overseas,” protecting our country, but I didn’t understand. My mother showed me pictures of my dad in his Army uniform. When I went to the park with my mother, I would point to any man in a uniform and cry “daddy!” I don’t remember this, but my mother told me when I was older. When my father finally came home, my life changed because I was daddy's little girl, my dad was very moody, and my dad was able to take me more places.