A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.
Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.
What is a “thesis statement” anyway?
You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.
Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument. In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.
2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive
Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.
For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.
To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.
This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).
Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.
In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.
2 Styles of Thesis Statements
Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.
The first style uses a list of two or more points. This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.
C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.
In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.
In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.
Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.
In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.
Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis
One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:
___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.
Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:
___________________ is true because of _____________________.
Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.
The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement
When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.
Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.
Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.
Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.
Example of weak thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.
Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.
Example of a stronger thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.
This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.
Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.
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Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in Shakespeare's “As You Like It” nd are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot of “As You Like It” or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay. Before you begin, however, please get some useful tips and hints about how to use PaperStarter.com in the brief User's Guide…you'll be glad you did.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: The Role Reversal of Men and Women in As You Like It
The traditional male and female gender roles are murky in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The use of disguises in “As You Like It” and the role reversal begins when Rosalind dresses as a male shepherd, Ganymede, and Celia disguises herself as Ganymede’s sister. Eventually, Rosalind begins to grow into her role, offering love counseling and role play therapy to a love sick Orlando. Rosalind is not the only character with a gender-confused identity, however. Silvius and Phoebe also have a strange relationship in terms of their sexuality and gender identity. Silvius chases after Phoebe like a lovesick school girl, flinging himself at her feet and begging for her attentions, while Phoebe acts as a jaded man, too impatient and important to care about the feelings of Silvius. What is Shakespeare saying about gender roles in this play? Do you think that he is encouraging or discouraging the temporary exchange of roles? Why or why not? For more assistance with this topic, be sure to read this article on disguise and role reversal.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: Hidden Potential in As You Like It
Throughout William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, there are several characters that have been oppressed, or otherwise denied the ability to reach their full potential. For example, Orlando is kept inside Oliver’s house, without any sort of gentlemanly education or ability to meet noblemen. Oliver is jealous of Orlando, and as such, he keeps the boy locked away from the rest of the world, which leads Orlando to fall into a depression. When he decides to fight Charles, despite the fact that Charles is an accredited fighter, Oliver actually begs Charles to be hard on Orlando and break his neck if possible. Instead, Orlando succeeds in winning the fight, in no small part because of the kindness of Rosalind. This portion of Orlando’s story shows his ability to succeed even when those around him do not believe he can be successful. What other characters in this play are surprisingly successful? What is Shakespeare implying about the underdog in these scenarios?
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Satisfaction in As You Like It
There are many people in Shakespeare’s As You Like It who have been denied their dreams. For Orlando, he is denied the dream of an education and a life outside of Oliver’s home. For Duke Senior, his usurping brother, Duke Fredrick, has denied him his rights to the throne. Even Rosalind has been denied the things that she wants, such as a life inside the courtly atmosphere, after Fredrick banishes her. However, even despite their circumstances, everyone in the play is happy with what they have. Duke Senior is content living in the wilderness with the men who are loyal to him, while Rosalind is happy living with Celia, pretending to be Ganymede and educating Orlando on love. What is important about being happy with the things that you have, and how is Shakespeare highlighting that theme throughout the play?
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role of Devotion in As You Like It
Devotion plays a key role in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Firs there is Celia, the cousin of Rosalind, who would do anything for her favorite family member. When Fredrick, Celia’s father, banishes Rosalind from the court, Celia knows that she can do nothing to temper her father’s anger, and instead she gathers up her things and flees to the wilderness with her cousin, leaving her entire world behind. Another example of devotion comes in the form of Silvius. Silvius is a shepherd who is in love with Phoebe, a shepherdess who cannot stand him. Instead of allowing her objections to come in the way, he continues to attempt to persuade her through poetry and prostration in the fields. The devotion of both of these characters is eventually rewarded, as Celia ends up meeting and marrying Oliver, and thanks to a trick by Rosalind, Phoebe and Silvius wed as well. Is Shakespeare making the statement that devotion is always rewarded? What other characters in the play exhibit this characteristic and what is their reward for their devotion?
For more assistance with this and other essay topics for “As You Like It” You might find the following article useful: The Role of Disguises in As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream
This list of important quotations from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from Shakespeare's “As You Like It” listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements for “As You Like It” by Shakespeare above, these quotes alone with page numbers can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way.
“You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have; and truly, when he dies, thou shalt be his heir; for what he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee again in affection. (I.i.16-20)
“Yet your mistrust can not make me a traitor.” (I.iii.59)
“Master go on, and I will follow thee To the last gasp with truth and loyalty.” (II.iii.70-71)
“If thou rememb'rest not the slightest folly That ever love did make thee run into, Thou hast not loved.” (II.iv.33-35)
“No sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason, no sooner the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage, which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage. They are in the very wrath of love, and they will together.” (V.ii.34-42)
“You and you no cross shall part You and you are heart in heart To you your love must accord Or have a woman to your lord You and you are sure together As the winter to foul weather” (V.iv.136-141)
“Within these ten days if that thou be’st [be] found So near our public court as twenty miles, Thou diest for it." (I.iii.27-29)
“I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry" (I.ii.3)
“Neither rime nor reason can express how much" (III.ii.152)
Source : Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.