How can I improve this thesis? Thesis: Low-income societies cause many struggles within families. I am doing a comparison essay for "Go Tell It on the Mountain" by James Baldwin and "Such a Long Journey" by Rohinton Mistry. I am trying to compare the hardships of the families living in low-income societies. Please help with thesis!  

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This thesis uses the term "societies" in a somewhat specialized way. Adjusting this term would be my first piece of advice (because it is not the "American society" that is "low-income" and this is a novel about America and American society).

You might make an opening statement like this, which would provide you with a point to argue and would suggest the shape of your essay:

The financial struggles faced by individual families can lead to emotional challenges and even spiritual hardship.

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The first thing I would tell you about your thesis is that it needs to be something you can argue. Really is there anyone who would disagree that, “Low-income societies cause many struggles within families?” Probably not, but if you change the thesis slightly so that it’s something arguable and something you have to prove, it will be much better. For example you could say “Society makes it impossible for low income families to succeed.” There are many people who would argue that, and it would be something you could prove through your comparison.

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The ideas in the thesis statement are quite strong.  Perhaps, a bit of rewording could help.  I like the idea of suggesting that a lack of income provides challenges to families.  This could result in something simple as, "Families that face economic hardships face multiple struggles.  Working in the society angle could result in a statement such as, "Economic problems in societies provide challenges to families of limited material means."  I think the issue here is figuring how if we are going for a comparison of families who are economically challenged or if we are going for the similarities in economically depressed societies and how this hits families.  I think that some level of distinction would be needed in either setting.   The most important thing for me would be to indicate that families are challenged economically and that this condition can be seen and mirrored in different social settings.  Poverty's experience is strikingly similar.

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You have what is known as an umbrella thesis--one where you generally cover the topic you'll discuss.  speamerfam suggested a list thesis, which helps give you focus and structure for your paper.  List thesis statements usually are much stronger because they tell your reader what you are going to discuss--instills a sense of confidence to your essay.

My suggestion:
Low socio-economic societies cause many conflicts within families such as ______________.  List out your topics for your body paragraphs.  Whatever you discuss in the first body paragraph should go first in your list.  Also, put your strongest paragraph first. 

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One strategy in formulating a thesis statement is to include an overview of your support for the statement.  This acts as a kind of outline for your reader and keeps you on track as you write, too. 

If I were writing an essay on how Huckleberry Finn and The Secret Life of Bees were similar, I might have a thesis statement that looks like this:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Secret Life of Bees have much in common, including a young person paired with an older person of the same sex, an important journey,a and a search for freedom. 

Do you see how my statement is very specific, offering the reader an idea of how I plan on supporting my thesis?  Your thesis, as it begins, is fine, but if you add to that statement the reasons that the statement is true, you will have a far more specific thesis, one that you can use to organize your ideas and your paper, and one that helps the reader to follow what you to say. 

I hope this is helpful to you.  Good luck!   

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