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?
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DEVELOPING A DYNAMIC THESIS