01-Thesis-Statements-and-Essay-Maps - #1) Thesis Statements...

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#1) Thesis Statements and Essay Maps (adapted from Jean Wyrick's Steps to Writing Well, 2nd ed., published by Harcourt Brace College Publishers) Every essay needs a thesis statement, whether it is stated directly or implied. Most teachers want to see your thesis statement in the first paragraph of your essays. The thesis statement declares the main point or controlling idea of your entire essay. It frequently answers the questions "What is the subject of this essay"; "What is the writer's opinion on this subject"; "What is the writer's purpose in this essay?" (for example, to explain something? to argue a position? to move people into action? to entertain?). When you are drafting your essay, use a "working thesis" to help you move from prewriting to drafting to revision. Everything in your essay should support your thesis. This does not mean that you are wedded to your thesis; as you write, you may discover that what you really want to write about is different from what you started with. Changing directions is not uncommon; remember: Writing is an act of discovery. So thesis statements should not be carved in stone. Here are some guidelines for writing a good thesis: - A good thesis states the writer's clearly defined opinion on some subject. Tell the reader what you think about the topic. Don't dodge the issue. State your opinion specifically and precisely. Poor: Many people have different opinions on whether people under twenty-one should be able to drink alcohol, and I agree with some of them. Poor: The question of whether we need a national law governing the minimum age to drink alcohol is a controversial issue in many states. -A good thesis has something worthwhile to say. Poor: The four children in my family have completely different personalities. [This may be true, but would anyone but your mom and dad really be fascinated with this topic?] -A good thesis is limited to fit the assignment. Don't allow your thesis to promise more of a discussion than you can adequately deliver in a short essay. Poor: Black artists have contributed a lot to American culture. ["Black artists," "culture," and "a lot" cover more ground than can be dealt with in one short essay] Better: Scott Joplin was a major influence in the development of the uniquely American music called ragtime. [specifically defined and narrow]
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01-Thesis-Statements-and-Essay-Maps - #1) Thesis Statements...

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