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.
Compare the following: Original thesis: There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. (a fill_in_the_blank formula). Revised theses: Careful manipulation of data allows a researcher to use statistics to support any claim she desires. In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report. Because advertisers consciously and unconsciously manipulate data, every consumer should learn how to evaluate statistical claims.
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