I need help coming up with an argumentative thesis over James Baldwin's This Morning, This Evening, So Soon. If anyone could help me...

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely!  Remember that any good argumentative essay will provide a fairly controversial opinion as a thesis (or at least an opinion that will have an opposite point of view) and, as a result, the opposing argument needs to be acknowledged in the first body paragraph.  In regards to James Baldwin's This Morning, This Evening, So Soon, I would suggest the following thesis:

Although the narrator plans a move to the United States, Paris, France is a better fit for him and his family. 

In this essay, after an introduction that ends with your thesis, your first body paragraph would be about the opposing argument:  the move to the United States.  The book DOES end with the author moving to a different country, so we should acknowledge this in our oppositional paragraph.  We also need to bring up that the United States holds a deplorable quality that France does not:  racism.  A good support for this would be when he visited the US for his mother's funeral and was repeatedly called "boy" in reference to his skin color.  You can also site the narrators disgust for the French colonial war and/or his final experience in the French discotheque here.

Your body paragraphs need to cement the reasoning behind the narrator's love of Paris and France.  Perhaps the first body paragraph can be about the narrator's continual worry about moving.  You can site the nightmares, the evenings where the narrator lingers over his sleeping son lost in thought, etc.  Your second body paragraph could be about the narrator's loyalty to the French because of his financial success.  The narrator, of course, became successful as both an actor and a singer in France. That experience should be detailed here.  Perhaps the meeting with the director, Jean Luc Vidal and the narrator's important acting role in Les Fauves nous attendent could be detailed. Your final body paragraph is the most important one:  the lack of racism found in France.  There are many positive experiences here you can relate from the narrator's personal life in France.  Even his beautiful apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower could be a support.  There are many examples from his first years in France when he was a struggling artist and an expatiate from the United States.  Even the fact that the narrator moved FROM the United States TO France originally could be considered a good argument!

In conclusion, I would say that it would be JUST AS GOOD to flip the thesis and prove the following:

Even though the narrator is enamored of Paris, France, the United States would be a better fit for him and his family; therefore, it is good he is moving to the "new world."

In order to write the opposing essay, you would simply use the original oppositional argument for your body and your original body for your opposition.  It is your choice, and either would make a perfect argumentative essay.  Good luck to you!

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This Morning, This Evening, So Soon

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