Suicide thesis and quotes to help develop it.I have to write an essay for English 30-1 about my thoughts on suicide in Hamlet, but I'm not sure how to start my thesis. I have to have 5 quotes from...

Suicide thesis and quotes to help develop it.

I have to write an essay for English 30-1 about my thoughts on suicide in Hamlet, but I'm not sure how to start my thesis. I have to have 5 quotes from Hamlet that help develop my thesis as well.

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clairewait's profile pic

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

Posted on

The first step to tackling this essay is making sure you fully understand what the prompt is asking.  Because you are a senior in high school, may I suggest that essentially this prompt is asking you to analyze the theme of suicide in "Hamlet."  (Don't be confused: though it says "your thoughts" your essay should include more text-based arguments rather than emotional opinions or personal reactions.)  I usually teach two approaches to tackling a thematic essay and writing a thesis.  You will have to choose which one you think will work best for you.

Idea #1: Brainstorm ideas by listing quotes, ideas, and details from the play that have anything to do with the subject of suicide.  I often encourage students to use a highlighter or sticky notes while they read so they can be collecting "evidence" on a theme.  If you have already finished reading, you'll have to go back and re-skim in order to create this list.  Once you have collected several (at least 10 is a good number to strive for) analyze and categorize quotes and ideas that seem to be similar.  Ask yourself, "Based on this brainstormed evidence, what is Shakespeare trying to say about suicide in "Hamlet?" Work toward answering this question in a somewhat broad statement, and it becomes your working thesis statement.  Hone it further as you begin to organize your essay into topics or categories which will eventually become the "body" of the paper.

Idea #2: Answer the question above (from your reading and class discussions) and then go back and look for evidence to support your answer.  This approach requires a better initial understanding of the text as a whole, but also eliminates the gathering of quotes that ultimately might not be used.

Finally, keep in mind a thesis accomplishes two things. First, it broadly defines what the entire paper will essentially be about.  Second, it gives an idea of the organization of the paper by outlining the sub-topics or categories into which your arguments will be grouped.  A thesis statement can be 1-2 sentences long.

bbygrlpickles's profile pic

bbygrlpickles | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Iunno! The question that's written in my Module is: "Hamlet is a play that deals with some of the fundimental issues confronting human beings. These may include things like: (and then it's gotta big list I can pick from but I picked suicide). Your assignment is to select ONE of the issues here and to create an essay that expresses your thoughts on your chosen issue." I kinda assumed "my thoughts" meant the thoughts I had about all the suicide in the play. That's why I worded it that way in my question here.

Your idea 1 is what I've always done for essay's of any kind. It works perfect for me! I'm just going through the "actions" before the play itself starts in the book, it's giving me alot of info that's helping with this and when that's done, I'll be skimming through the play again for anything else I may have missed.

I thought a thesis had to be a full paragraph like everything else. Apparently I was wrong! Thank you very much for the help!

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