Writing About Literature - B. J. Adams

Writing About Literature - B. J. Adams - Writing About...

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Writing About Literature: Thesis Development and Support A thesis statement states the main idea of an essay; usually appears toward the end of the introductory paragraph A strong argumentative thesis should: 1. Clearly state your topic as well as the argument that you wish to make about that topic 2. Justify or necessitate further discussion/argument (i.e. Make a claim, as opposed to stating a fact) 3. Be specific To formulate a strong argumentative thesis: 1. Use specific language 2. Make an assertion based on clearly stated support Note: While your subpoints should be clearly delineated, you do not have to follow the three-point structure that you may have learned in 1101/high school. Sample essay assignment: Kate Chopin, in “The Story of an Hour,” makes a statement regarding the unpleasantness of life for wives in a patriarchal culture. Discuss Chopin’s characterization of Louise Mallard as a means to illustrate the oppression inherent in domestic life for married women. In order to make your thesis concise, ask yourself the following questions: How is Mrs. Mallard characterized? Describe her in a few words. Examine the passages which lend to the characterization of Mrs. Mallard: do they invoke sympathy for her? What elements in the story lead us to sympathize with Mrs. Mallard? Does Mrs. Mallard experience a transformation as the story progresses? What conclusion do we draw about marriage in the early 20 th century from the characterization of Mrs. Mallard? What is the point Chopin seeks to make about marriage? A good thesis statement is specific, concise, and assertive. Your thesis should indicate very clearly what you will argue, and it should give your reader some idea of how you will make your argument.
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Example #1: In “The Story of An Hour,” Louise Mallard’s husband dies and she is finally free from feeling oppressed. Example #2: Chopin efficiently illustrates the breadth of Louise Mallard’s emotions in the wake of the news of her husband’s death, from her initial pangs of grief, to her bewildering sense of joy, and finally to her exhilarated awareness of sudden freedom. Through Louise Mallard’s transformation from repressed wife to liberated widow, Chopin critiques the oppression inherent in marriage for wives at the turn of the century. To determine whether or not your thesis is truly an argumentative one, ask
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Writing About Literature - B. J. Adams - Writing About...

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