Does my thesis pass the "So what?" test? If a reader´s first response is likely to be "So what?" then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue. Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It´s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary. Does my thesis pass the "how and why?" test? If a reader´s first response is "how?" or "why?" your thesis may be too open_ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
Why is this thesis weak? Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: most likely a general, appreciative summary of Twain´s novel. But the question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze. Your professor is probably not interested in your opinion of the novel; instead, she wants you to think about why it´s such a great novel_what do Huck´s adventures tell us about life, about America, about coming of age, about race, etc.? First, the question asks you to pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important to its structure or meaning_for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write: In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
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