When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis,ask yourself the following: Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War.
You turn on the computer and type out the following: This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information.
Maybe you decide that both sides fought for moral reasons, and that they just focused on different moral issues.
You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper: While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government. Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: you will most likely provide a general, appreciative summary of Twain’s novel.
Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships.
Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis,” a basic or main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way.You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason.As you write the essay, you will probably begin to characterize these differences more precisely, and your working thesis may start to seem too vague.If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft.The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one.You’ve read countless primary source documents, written dozens of outlines and thesis statements, and timed your essay writing more times than you’d like to count.Don’t worry, though; it’s not as bad as you’d think.After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence.This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.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. That’s fine—begin to work on comparing scenes from the book and see what you discover.Now you write: Here’s a working thesis with potential: you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation; however, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions.