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Writing Program

Thesis Work

Dominique Battles, English

The thesis is the map for the whole essay. A weak thesis will get the reader to nowhere in particular. A strong thesis will lead the reader to your brilliant insight or discovery.

A good thesis will do five things:

  • Announce the broad Topic of the essay.
    Ex: The character of King Orfeo in the Middle English poem Sir Orfeo.
  • Delineate the Specific Area you will take within that broader topic.
    Ex: The cultural/political identity of King Orfeo.
  • Indicate the primary Opposition to your argument (what you don't agree with).
    Ex: He is modeled on heroes of French romance.
  • Indicate your Opinion concerning that Specific Area.
    Ex: He is modeled on heroes of Anglo-Saxon literature (not French romance).
  • Suggest what kinds of Evidence you will use to support your claims.
    Ex: I explore the hero's cultural identity through features such as battle tactic, residences, and his experience of the forest landscape.

Final Thesis: Although King Orfeo [Topic] appears to be modeled on the heroes of French [specific area - cultural identity] chivalric romance [opposition], in fact/nevertheless, his dwelling, experience of the forest, and choice of battle tactic [evidence] all indicate he is modeled on the hero of Anglo-Saxon literature [my opinion].

Thesis Test

After you write your thesis, "test" its quality with the following questions:

  • Does my thesis announce the broad Topic?
  • Does it delineate the Specific Area I will take within that broader topic?
  • Does it indicate my primary Opposition?
  • Does it reflect my Opinion on that focused topic?
  • Does it suggest what types of Evidence I will be using to support my claims?

Thesis Workpage

Topic:

Specific Focus:

Opposition:

Opinion:

Evidence (what kind of evidence will you use to support your opinion?).

Using the model provided on the previous page, compose a thesis in the space below:

Thesis: Although [the Opposition clause]

            in fact, nevertheless,...

Run it through the test above