How could a student write a thesis about slavery in Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Expert Answers
hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With most thesis statements, the intended purpose is to help your reader determine what you will be saying during the rest of your paper. For many papers, teachers advise that you have about three points to help make your paper strong (although this does not always have to be the case). After stating your thesis, it often helpful in the next paragraph to include a background paragraph that provides the audience with vital information and relates to your topic and thesis.

With the background information, you will want to make the background specific enough so that the reader knows that it relates to Uncle Tom’s Cabin; however, it should also be general enough so that the reader understands the information without having to know too much about the book. It can be difficult to balance this, but it is a vital section to a strong paper.

In order to make it relate to the topic, you need to consider the audience’s knowledge and your topic. For example, this might include concepts about the time period that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written or might include background information about the author, Harriet Beecher Stowe. It simply depends on what information is crucial to understanding your topic the best.

Furthermore, to help you decide what information to include in the background, you should consider your thesis statement. For example, if you talk about the slavery in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it might be beneficial to provide a social context about how slaves were treated during the time or how the U.S. government viewed slaves. With this, it could be helpful to include important cases during the time period, such as Dred Scott v. Sanford or the Fugitive Slave Law.

As a result, you will end up with statements that support your thesis and provide background information on your topic!