Thesis Statement Tips

  • Writing a thesis statement requires you to think about the questions your research essay ultimately will answer. Then, working to answer the critical questions allows you to develop a meaningful and assertive thesis statement.


    For example, let’s use Elie Wiesel’s Night for practice.  If you were thinking about writing an essay on Wiesel’s memoir, you might raise the following questions:


    -          What is central in Wiesel’s ability to survive?

    -          What is Wiesel’s purpose in recalling and showcasing his      

          personal experiences and specific individuals he encounters in

          the camps?

    -          What purpose do Wiesel’s narrative interjections serve?


    Then, using knowledge from research and from your close reading of the literature, you would formulate a thesis statement by refining an answer to a question from above:


    Sample Thesis:  Elie Wiesel’s memoir reflects the way a person can manage fluctuating

                                 emotions within a tragic situation and emphasizes that fleeting interactions

                                 carry lasting effects.


    Sample Thesis:  Elie Wiesel’s memoir reinforces the way survival in a difficult situation

                              requires human comradery, personal reflection, and control of one’s emotions.


    Now, having chosen a focus for analysis of To Kill a Mockingbird, what questions come to mind regarding that topic?  Use the above questions (for Night) as a guide for developing your own and then follow through in formulating a thesis statement.


    Below are possible templates for your thesis statement.  You must plug in concrete language based on your interpretations of the novel and deeper understanding gained through preliminary research.


    -          Lee’s  novel reflects the way society ________________________________ and promotes ___________________________.


    -          Lee’s novel raises question with society’s _____________________________ and offers ____________________________________.


    -          Through presenting _____________________, _____________________, and _______________________, Lee’s work advocates the need for change.


    -          Lee’s use of ________________________________ provides _________________________ for readers and serves to_________________________.