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How is this thesis statement in regards to To Kill a Mockingbird?Harper Lee's To Kill A...

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lynnajohnson | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted February 2, 2010 at 8:55 AM via web

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How is this thesis statement in regards to To Kill a Mockingbird?

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird demonstrates how courage is required when facing something even when it seems impossible.

Does this make sense? And also, could you please provide this same thesis reworded for my conclusion?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted February 2, 2010 at 9:29 AM (Answer #1)

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The idea that the book shows us courage is a good idea, and certainly one of the themes of the book, so this is a pretty good thesis statement.  You  might want to make it a bit more specific, though. You are speaking about courage generally, without any reference to the people who do show courage in the story. Those people are the characters, and it is they who show us courage in the face of the impossible. 

Often, a thesis statement will include a preview of the points you are going to make in your analysis.  This is often done in this form:

Thus and such is true because of X, Y, and Z.

X, Y, and Z are the ways you will support the thesis statement.  It can be one point or several points, depending on what you have to say.  But in this particular case, it seems to me that each point you will need to make is about a character who shows courage.  So the specific characters might be mentioned in your preview statement and also give you a good way to organize the body of the paper. 

Now, since you might be revising the statement a bit, I am not sure it does much good to give you a rewording. But if you are going to stick with that statement, one possible rewording might be something like:

The impossible requires great courage, and To Kill A Mockingbird makes this point very well.

Also, notice that I have italicized the name of the book, which is what must be done for all book titles.  Story titles should be in regular font, with quotation marks around them. 

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted February 2, 2010 at 9:32 AM (Answer #2)

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I would say that your thesis is a very good beginning. A thesis, is your plan, your organization of your essay, and it is something that you will argue and prove with evidence and analysis.

If you look at the following introduction, you will notice that there are three sentences: 1) the attention-gettingstatement, 2) the background information, and 3) the thesis statement. Notice that in the thesis statement that there are three controlling ideas, labelled a, b, and c. Your paper can have one, two, three, or as many as you want to prove. It is your argument, your paper, and it should be up to you to decide how many. But the advantage of listing your controlling ideas is that the later become your topic sentences. They make your writing easier. If you keep your very broad thesis statement, you would be proving why the book is (such and such) and not the elements in the book.

(1) For most people, a second chance at life, the opportunity to turn oneself around, is truly a unique and precious gift. (2) In Fyoda Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the main character Rodion Romanovitch Raskolinkov undergoes a “spiritual reassessment” and “moral reconciliation.” (3) His moral and spiritual reconciliation in Siberia (a) serve to break his isolation from society, (b) brings him together with Sonia, and (c) renew him as a person who can function in society.

Then notice the first topic sentence of your next paragraph is your first controlling idea from your thesis statement: After Roskolinkov murders the pawnbroker and her sister, he feels isolated from society.

You would then provide support, or evidence, or quotes, that prove that and then provide an analysis in the same paragraph.

So, you should delete (Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird) and put in its place 1, 2, or 3 instances in the book that reveal courage and list them individually. Your writing would become much more coherent, succinct, and more importantly, more organized and better.

And, a conclusion should not be mere summary. Your conclusion should be a final thought,a  final dramatic statement,a warning, a suggestion, or something that you learned from writing the paper that would be beneficial to readers of the paper. I wish you the best of luck. Please contact me if you require further assistance.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 2, 2010 at 11:39 AM (Answer #3)

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For a 9th grade student, your thesis statement is right on grade level. I think you have captured a concept at your age that will give you great strength to write an effective essay. As a teacher of 9th graders for 13 years, I would be pleased with this thesis knowing you wrote it yourself without help. Do make sure you italicize your title. :)

I do hope you have considered 3 ways that you will express this and be able to develop it in the body of your essay. TKAM gives many circumstances under which the discussion of courage is very relevant.

For your restatement in your conclusion, I recommend one of these words embedded somewhere inside your sentence: truly, surely, clearly, apparently, or obviously. It should sound something like this:

Courage is clearly a required character trait in TKAM just as it is a human trait in life. (I give you this idea, but it's not a perfect sentence so work with the idea... you have parallel structure here... a conclusive adverb... and a relating idea to life) Try to have these components.

You've been given lots of great advice. Good luck making it work!

 

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micheldemontaigne | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 3, 2010 at 8:40 AM (Answer #4)

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It's a fair start, but your meaning is unclear by the use of the word "something" rather than a word which gives a concrete idea of what that something may be (bee sting, slavery, bad hair day...) use a word in its place which fits the meaning as well as the subject matter's emotional depth - this will make your focus clear and provide your essay with a firm direction.

The second issue is with the phrase, "even when it seems impossible." What is the "it" you are mentioning?

I suggest deleting the words after "required" and selecting meaningful words which direct the reader's attention to the points you wish to make in the following essay.

 

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