writing a thesis statement

Let’s try writing a thesis statement in order to practice the concepts behind what a thesis statement is supposed to accomplish. This will come in handy in our next writing assignments.

Remember, that what you’re writing in a thesis is a statement of your paper’s argument, and that means that you’re not thinking about something that would be called a thesis sentence. It’s not necessary to conceptualize or to write your paper’s argument into one gigantic sentence that encapsulates everything you want to say. Instead, think of the thesis statement as an outline of your argument that, for the most part, captures everything your paper will be about, more or less in the order of ideas as will be presented in your paper. Be explicit, definitive, and comprehensive. Once someone reads your thesis statement, it’s usually (there are exceptions) not best to have huge surprises waiting.

The task for today is to construct a complete thesis statement.

In the short story St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Karen Russell gives a world in which a group of girls are struggling with a very particular burden. The last line of the story is as follows: “So,” I said, telling my first human lie. “I’m home.” The question I want you to address is this: Why does Russell end the story in this way? What is it she’s trying to say with this statement?

In order to complete the thesis statement, I want you to think of four (4) different pieces of evidence in the story that you would use to back up your assertion about the story’s message. All four pieces of evidence should come from different places in the story and should support your idea in a different way. The pieces of evidence don’t need to be radically different from each other, but they should be different enough to be interesting and to give your argument a sense of coverage.

You don’t need to write an entire essay here (yet), so you don’t need to think too deeply about how your body paragraphs would be completely drafted. You just need to think about how the points would go in theory. Once you have these ideas in mind, follow the format for a complete thesis statement.

A worthwhile introduction and thesis statement is characterized by the following:

Insight
Non-obvious
Controversial
Requiring proof
Coverage
What will be demonstrated
Why it’s worth demonstrating
How it will be demonstrated
All of these things, even if briefly
Planning
This is the how — a quick outline of the logic
Think of this whole construction as a thesis statement — not just the main point of the essay, which is one or two sentences’ worth of assertion.

Write your thesis statement in the following way:

Introduce the story quickly — outline the main thrust of the plot, but don’t write an entire outline of the piece.
Write at least three or four sentences that sequentially lead into the main idea that will be presented. These sentences should introduce and present the various points you’ll be making.
These ideas should be presented sequentially and your sentences should indicate HOW each point leads to the next.
Write out the main idea of your essay — what will be proven. Be certain that the link between the preceding sentences and the main idea is clear. Clarify more if necessary.
The whole piece should be from 8 to 10 sentences long — maybe a little longer, but certainly not shorter. Post here as a group and comment on two others, as usual.