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Thesis Statement

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  1. Thesis Statement As you already know, a thesis statement clearly states the topic of a composition and your position. It not only helps focus the main point of the essay by stating what you will PROVE in your paper, but it gives the reader an exact understanding of what will be covered. *A thesis statement declares your OWN unique perspective, your “take”, on the subject. EX: In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses characters’ actions to show that courage can be seen in unlikely people.

  2. Theme Statements vs. Topics • Theme= a lesson the reader learns from the text; a universal truth; always written as a statement. Ex: Life decisions can be hard. Life has many roads Regret can stifle a life. Courage can be seen in unlikely people. • Topics= one or two broad words Ex: Choices, regret, journeys, adventure, love, happiness, empathy, isolation, courage

  3. Character Analysis • Characterization can be direct or indirect and your analysis of characterization should include the impact the author’s methods of characterization have on the conflict, or theme in a story. Example Thesis: In her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, set in the deep south in an era of segregation, Harper Lee pulls her protagonist into the conflict of racial injustice by revealing Scout’s personality to be inquisitive, confrontational, and dynamic.

  4. Thematic Analysis Intro. Paragraph When you write your introductory paragraph of your essay: Include relevant background info. on setting, specific characters, plot summary, etc. The last sentence of this paragraph should be your thesis statement. Just a reminder: H(hook ) R(restate the topic ) A(author) T (title) S(setting) C(character/conflict/concept) A(action) T(thesis)

  5. Example Intro. Paragraph for Thematic Analysis Essay Empathy is a virtue that not all people have. To be able to understand other people’s feelings, motives, or situations takes a lot of effort since we live in such a judgmental society. Anne Frank, who was a young Jewish girl, went into hiding for three years trying to escape being killed by the Nazis during World War II. Under dire circumstances, Anne showed empathy in her many diary entries. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank shows that empathy can exist in horrific conditions. H(hook ) R(restate the topic ) A(author) T (title) S(setting) C(character/conflict/concept) A(action) T(thesis)

  6. Example Intro. Paragraph for Character Analysis Essay According to the website maintained by The Innocence Project, Bobby Ray Dixon served three decades in Mississippi prisons for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA tests obtained by Innocence Project New Orleans led to his exoneration in 2010. Sadly, he died just five weeks before he was officially exonerated. Also sadly, the website describes 311 cases where people convicted of capital crimes have sat on death row and later been found innocent. Racial injustice is part of American history. Harper Lee published her classic novel of a young girl called Scout who serves as a witness to her father’s unsuccessful attempt to bring justice to a falsely accused black man set in the deep south during the depression years of the early 20th century. In her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, set in the deep south in an era of segregation, Harper Lee pulls her protagonist into the conflict of racial injustice by revealing Scout’s personality to be inquisitive, confrontational, and dynamic. H(hook ) R(restate the topic ) A(author) T (title) S(setting) C(character/conflict/concept) A(action) T(thesis)

  7. Assertions/Arguments (topic sentences of body paragraphs) • Harper Lee reveals a very curious little girl in her protagonist, Jean Louise Finch, also known as Scout. • As circumstances and conflicts begin to develop, Lee’s Scout shows herself to be somewhat confrontational, displaying a courage that at times may border on recklessness. • Because the protagonist is confronted throughout the story with many controversial situations, Lee provides her character the opportunity to grow and mature as a truly dynamic character. ***These are your reasons that will prove your thesis statement to be true. Each assertion will be developed into a well-written body paragraph using text evidence to support your claim.

  8. Your Theme Analysis Outline • A. Intro. paragraph (catch interest & provide any relevant background info.) B. State your thesis statement • A. Assertion #1 B. Prove your assertion with examples (text evidence) and explanation. • A. Assertion #2 B. Prove your assertion with examples (text evidence) and explanation. • A. Assertion #3 B. Prove your assertion with examples (text evidence) and explanation. V. Conclusion (wrap up your essay by showing your theme in our society today & restate your thesis in a different way)

  9. MLA Documentation • You need to place the lines that you use from the book in “quotation marks” and write the (author’s last name and pg. # ) in parenthesis with the period after. • My Example: • Atticus is the epitome of courage in this novel. “I wanted you to see what real courage is… it’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what” (Lee 112). He selflessly defends Tom even though he knows the whole town will hate him and his family. He knows that he would not win Tom’s case, but he has the moral integrity to do what is right. • 2nd paragraph requirements: Assertion (topic sentence), relevant “text evidence”, and insightful explanation/ analysis.

  10. Conclusion Example As you can see, courage is a quality that is evident is many characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. This quality is not just important in a famous novel written in the 1930s, but is seen everyday in our world today. The soldiers who have fought for our country through all the wars in history have shown a great amount of courage. They choose to put their life in danger for all Americans who are total strangers to them. Courage is within everybody, and it can appear at the most unlikely time.

  11. Literary Analysis Paper • Must be typed in MLA format with all in-text citations and Works Cited including your novel as a work. • Must be more than 3 pages long and less than 5 pages long. • Must contain either an analysis of theme or character. • Every assertion/argument must include evidence from your novel, typically two or three different bits of evidence. • “Nearly perfect & complete” draft is due November 15th and final copy is due November 22nd. • The draft is to be typed in MLA format with all appropriate in-text citations and works cited. • If you quote any source outside of your book, those sources must also be cited.

  12. Rubric