Thesis-Writing Practice for Literary Analysis Assignment | Homework for You
In sum, you are to write at least THREE different thesis statements in which you explain the lessons that you think these three works of art teach us about life. Since this is mostly practice, YOU get to choose the works of art that you write on. For example, you may choose three of your favorite movies or songs, or you may choose any of the assigned readings to write a practice thesis for. All you need to do for this assignment is to write three solid thesis statements that could potentially work for the essay prompt. (Note that no further development is required for this assignment – no intro paragraph, etc.). But since this assignment is intended to be practice for the essay, you want to think about how you might support each statement, since writing an unfounded thesis statement is not really practicing).
In addition to the basic requirements, however, you should remember to be insightful in your argument. Avoid cliches, stock phrases (that are repeated ad nauseum in our culture), and other surface-level ideas, and be aware of how you use unqualified words such as “always” or “never.” Finally, be insightful and make sure that you are adding to your readers’ understanding of the work you are writing on; help them see something that you learned from the work and that most people might not have seen on a first reading/viewing!
-Three different thesis statements, one for each of three different works of art you choose (poems, stories, movies, songs, etc.);
-Answer the “What” question in your reader’s mind (from Essay Writing Essentials); this must include the author’s name (or director/song-writer) + the title of the work + an insightful lesson they teach;
-Then answer “How” for your reader (i.e., how and in what specific ways does the work teach that lesson).
Example of a Weak/Poor Thesis Statement:
Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” shows us that everyone can get lonely.
→ While this thesis follows the basic required structure, it is not insightful. This is a “lesson” that no one needs to “learn” because we all, really, know it already. And it doesn’t do justice to the work of art, which is part of the purpose of literary study.
Example of Strong Thesis Statements:
1.) In “Whales Weep Not,” D. H. Lawrence reminds us that life, to be lived fully, must include spontaneity, vitality, and a constant connection with our emotional experiences.
2.) Throughout Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison tries to show us that a person’s authentic identity can not come from an external source (such as someone’s race, ethnicity, or even so-called cultural authorities) but from an individual’s own unique experiences.
3.) Jonathan Demme’s 1993 film, Philadelphia, not only gives a sympathetic depiction of a homosexual man’s struggle with HIV/AIDS but also makes audiences realize that all people deserve dignity but that because of persistent stereotypes, freedom from discrimination is still a dream that America has yet to fulfill.