How can I improve my thesis? I'm comparing and contrasting symbolism and setting.
Through both symbolism and setting both Hemingway and Jackson are able to portray an image of death throughout their stories in A Farewell to Arms and "The Lottery."
If I were writing this piece, I would probably make a general statement about the authors first. Then I would provide my thesis to show the focus of my paper. I don't believe that your thesis is bad, although I would try to avoid using the same word more than once: you use "both" twice, which is confusing when their uses are placed so closely together. The beauty of the English language is that there are countless ways to provide the same information without repetition. Sometimes we have to use the same word more than once, but other times there is a great deal of flexibility available to us.
If I had to compare and contrast symbolism and setting, I would not (as you have already shown) provide any specific information about these two elements in your introductory paragraph. (Those belong in the essay or paper's body.) However, as much as you want to let your reader know the topic of your paper immediately, thereby preparing your audience for what is to come, sources that instruct us on how to write an effective thesis statement and introductory paragraph will encourage you to offer something that grabs your reader's attention without compromising the integrity of your paper. You set the tone in the introduction, just as any writer does.
There are many ways this can be done. A famous quotation can sometimes be effective, or asking a question. I think I would draw the comparison between how different the use of setting and symbolism are in accomplishing the author's objective…as different as the authors and their stories are.
So I would write:
Death is a dominant image in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms and Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." Each author's use of setting and symbolism to convey this image is as different as the authors and their stories, but both are equally effective.
I hope this is of some help.
How long is the assignment? What are the parameters? What exactly will you be arguing? As of right now, it seems like you might be trying to tackle too much at once, and perhaps this is why your thesis is weak. It might be helpful to focus on one author and/or one story rather than trying to talk about them both.
In terms of rephrasing what you already have here, you need to sound more assertive and direct--right now it is too wordy. It is also unclear whether your thesis is actually what your paper is about, seeing as you say you will be comparing/contrasting setting but your thesis seems to want to talk about both of them working unified to create meaning. Provide me with some more information so I can help more!