Thesis Workshop English 1B Honors • Topic: Thesis Statement – Title and Author – Maybe add a Theme or Topic from the piece – Ex. The portrayal of women in Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” • Controlling Idea – Your take on the piece, your interpretation – Arguable – Ex. The portrayal of women in Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” makes women emblematic of society’s constraints. Look at Your Fish • Patterns: Several of these can add up to a controlling idea • The first stanza is optimistic, while the second stanza is pessimistic • The rhyme scheme is solid at the beginning of the poem but uses slant rhymes at the end • The poem moves from abstract ideals to concrete details • George Nelson’s “War is No Good” uses the structure and content of his poem to mimic the loss of innocence in wartime. Look at Your Fish • Problems: Coming up for an answer to a problem in a piece can be your controlling idea • Whom is the speaker absolving in “The Poet as Hero” • Why is the German mother singled out in “Glory of Women”? • Why does Krebs leave for Kansas City at the end of “Soldier’s Home”? Look at Your Fish • Listing: Grouped ideas can add up to your controlling idea • Use of personification • Change in tone toward the end • Surprise endings in lines and in the poem • Theme of war’s annihilation • Sara Teasdale’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” lulls the reader into identifying with Nature only to ambush him or her with extinction. Look at Your Fish • Themes: Link themes to stylistic choices for simplest thesis or show tension for more complex thesis • Simple: Rupert Brooke’s poem “ The Soldier” enhances its patriotic theme through its use of poetic form, natural imagery, and personification of England. • Complex: While Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Soldier” enhances its patriotic theme through poetic form, its imagery and syntax reveal an uneasiness with the powers of patriotism. Types of Controlling Ideas • Straightforward • Opposing View: take a first reading of the poem and argue its opposite • Hidden Clues • Secondary Theme: – While Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” certainly provides an argument against propaganda, its use of imagery and poetic form suggest a prejudice against soldiers suffering from shell shock. • Two Ideas Pieced Together: – In John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields,” the speaker celebrates the body of the soldier but denigrates the process of war. – In “The Poet and War,” Albert Ehrenstein uses poetic form to show the speaker’s isolation from other soldiers and uses imagery to show his craving for death. Things to Avoid • Too Obvious: In the poem “Glory of Women,” Siegfried Sassoon mocks the women who stay home during the war. • Too Broad: “The Mother” uses many different techniques to show its themes. • Too Specific: “The Mother” uses alliteration to show complacency. • Need Too Much Outside Information: Sassoon’s “Lamentations” mocks the established honor system of the British army during WWI in order to show the hypocrisy of their rankings. Critique these Thesis Statements In-Class Writing • Write your working thesis at the top of a horizontal sheet of paper • Look over your list of evidence • Free-write for additional ideas. How would I convince someone that this was true? • Go back for more evidence: Look at your fish!