I am writing an essay comparing and contrasting Soraya and Amir from The Kite Runner. I'm curious about what makes a good thesis.Amir is not entirely good like soroya because he is never open,...

I am writing an essay comparing and contrasting Soraya and Amir from The Kite Runner. I'm curious about what makes a good thesis.

Amir is not entirely good like soroya because he is never open, never admits to his sins and he only redeems himself out of the guilt that east him away. Until Amir was aware that hassan was his brother, he was not going to save sohrab. I feel that Amir is flawed because of this and sybolizes selfishness that Soraya does not have. Even though he amends (or attempts) for his sin, it is clear that he is not guilt free at the end of the novel reflected in how Sohrab does not speak, and is sad. The loose ends of the novel reflect amir's loose ends with himself because I think he realizes that he did not save sohrab out of true goodness, but obligation for family. His keeping secrets from his wife and from everyone close to im for so long has made amir dillusional as to what the ideal, truth and good are. He does not find true hapiness in his mairrage after ten years, because he is not open with her. There is no indication with soraya's sacrifice and willing to put her life at risk when amir leaves for afganistan that she is not open and devoted to him.


I think what I'm thinking for the thesis is that guilt and how we attempt to heal those feelings of guilt alters the relationships we have with others.

I feel that the contrast and comprison essays we've been looking at in class seem blatantly obvious... so I want to come up with soemthing more complex.

anytips and that would be helpful! thanks.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Quite often, thesis statements for compare and contrast papers are "blatantly obvious" because they simply state that the writer is going to look at similarities and differences.  They are often in the form of, "X and Y have many similarities and differences."  Such thesis statements are lacking in a few ways. 

First, they provide no purpose for comparing and contrasting. This lack is rooted in a failure to understand why compare and contrast essays are assigned to begin with.  They are meant to help a student understand the value of comparing and contrasting, something we need to do in our everyday lives when we make choices and decisions.  It's a way of thinking for a purpose!  So, a good thesis statement should have an explicit or implicit purpose. 

Let me give you a trivial example.  If I were writing a compare and contrast essay on oranges and apples, I could say something like, "There are similarites and differences in apples and oranges."  Or I could say something like, "The consumer choosing between oranges and apples will find that while both have great benefits, the apple is the better buy because of price, sugar content, and nutritional value."  Do you see how the I have implied a purpose in comparing and contrasting the two? 

And that example leads me to the second point I want to make about thesis statements.  Do you see how I have listed three reasons to support my contention?  Those reasons provide a structure that will carry me through my body paragraphs in an organized way and that will provide the reader with an outline to guide him or her. 

Now, turning to your thesis in particular, guilt is an important theme for Amir, and there is the contrasting lack of guilt in Soraya.  And you have an interesting idea about the consequences in the marriage resulting from that difference.  So you are off to a great start here with a powerful point to make about guilt.  The flip side of that, of course, is to ask yourself what similarities you might talk about, for example, two people raised in the same culture and religion, both now strangers in a strange land.  Can you weave all of this together in a statement that gives a purpose to your paper, a powerful point to be made about guilt or lack therof?  Remember that you should include your means of support for that idea and use those supporting ideas to structure the paper.  Why don't you draft a statement and let us have a look at it? 

hildow | Student

Thank you very much. See I think my teacher has confused me because we were presented with thesis statements that were similar to the apple one you used as an example, but my teacher said those are presenting two different ideas. She said that the thesis should be an overarching unified idea and the characters and their positions would be used to back that up.

so an example was: "People feel the need to redeem themselves when overcome by guilt."

And then the 3 supporting points followed after that thesis in three seperate sentences.

I had written a diagnosis paragraph comparing starbucks and tim hortons and it was similar to your apples and orange sentence. It said ""although starbucks and tim hortons each have their advantages, Starbucks is the better choice because of the quality of the product, size of the drinks and causes they support." 

She said to not use this "either or"  or "although" format in ine sentence for contrast and compare topic/thesis sentences, and that the statement needed to be more "overarching." She said that you prove your overarching statement with comparing and contrasting. She also kept saying how our thesis should be complex so I'm a bit confused as a result.

And I don't know if in my thesis we are supposed to identify the two things we are comparing. Because some examples she showed us didn't have the 2 variables indicated.


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The Kite Runner

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