DEVELOPING A DYNAMIC THESIS • It should be a single assertive sentence that contains the writer’s main idea. • It suggests and controls the main organization of the paper. TEST FOR A THESIS • U - Unified (1 main idea) • R- Restricted (Am I attempting too much?) • P- Precise (Precise words set limits on the topic) • S- Significant (Explore an idea rather than state facts; answers the question “What about it?”) DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TOPIC AND A THESIS • Topic is the general subject. • Thesis answers “What about it?” • Topic #1: war • Thesis: Although war is destructive, its devastating physical and emotional challenges force ordinary men and women to become heroes. TOPIC #2 • Accomplishment in “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Three Little Pigs” • Thesis: In “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the tortoise wins the race due to his endurance and focus; likewise, in “The Three Little Pigs,” the third pig builds a lasting house by showing patience and effort. SAMPLE REVISION • In “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the tortoise wins the race due to his endurance and focus; likewise, in “The Three Little Pigs,” the third pig builds a lasting house by showing patience and effort. • “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Three Little Pigs” prove that personal accomplishment relies on the virtues of good work ethic. • Nothing is as crucial to writing a good essay as developing a good thesis. It doesn’t really matter how good your grammar is, or how well you can use a metaphor; if your reader doesn’t know what you are trying to prove, or doesn’t care, your essay will not carry much weight. • In order to allow your reader to know what you are trying to prove, your thesis must be clear. That means you need to know what you are attempting to argue, and need to say it simply and gracefully. • In order to make your reader care about your thesis, you need to make it dynamic – the opposite of static. A static thesis is descriptive – it simply describes what is in the book or books. • Here are some samples of potential thesis statements and their effectiveness: DESCRIPTIVE THESIS • Both novels have a young male protagonist with a smothering mother and a dead brother, and the protagonist runs away to war. • (Level 1 for this 4U assignment) DYNAMIC THESIS • A dynamic thesis looks at what is in the books and sees a pattern or makes an observation connecting the two works and explains why it is significant; rather than being descriptive, the dynamic thesis is analytical. DYNAMIC THESIS • Though both novels show a young protagonist reacting to a smothering mother by running away to war, the first novel reveals a character who repeatedly runs away and therefore never matures, while the second novel shows a character who reconciles his past and therefore finds renewed love. • Level 3 DYNAMIC THESIS • Both characters suffer personal loss and strained parental relationships; however, their personal reactions to their home lives determine the extent to which they can reconcile their pasts and achieve personal success. • Level 4 • Changing a descriptive thesis to an analytical thesis is not always easy, and involves two key steps. Though both steps are probably essential, they can be done in any order. Both require serious thought. 1. Look for cause and effect relationships in the action of the story, and look for development of the characters in the story. “A” happens to “B”, so does “C”, and so on. The key here is to ask the questions “What about it?”, “Why?”, and “To what effect?” 2. Look carefully at the ending of the story, to see how it “turns out.” Virtually all stories have their essence in the last quarter of the book, and often in the last few pages. The rest sets up the part of the book where the author reveals the main point. The pattern, therefore, has its culmination in the end of the novel. Start by thinking about the ending, and then move backwards to determine why the story turned out as it did. What lesson do readers learn? Why is it an important lesson? STATIC, DESCRIPTIVE THESIS Young male protagonist & Smothering mother & Dead brother & The essay looks like an equation. Running away to war = Essay Lifeless essay 4 paragraphs each describing a characteristic of the book or what happens No idea or argument Arranging paragraphs in different order has little effect DYNAMIC ANALYTICAL THESIS • Because • Therefore • Therefore • However Continues to run away Dead brother Smothering mother Running away to war Stops running, faces difficulties • Therefore Remains immature Reconciles past, finds love WHY IS THIS DYNAMIC? • It goes into detail about how the events of the story affect the individual characters in each novel. How Can it be stronger? • It should connect the actions of the characters with their outcomes and why it is significant. UMBRELLA DYNAMIC ANALYTICAL THESIS • Because Dead brother= personal loss + Smothering mother= strained relationship • However • Therefore Continue running vs. Stop running = Personal reaction Remains immature vs. reconciles past = Personal success?