I need to write a thesis for my essay about Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Can someone please help me and give me an example of a thesis? I don't know how to write one or what a thesis...

I need to write a thesis for my essay about Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Can someone please help me and give me an example of a thesis? I don't know how to write one or what a thesis looks like.

Expert Answers
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing to keep in mind when writing a thesis is that a thesis will make an argument. It will not be merely a summary of the text or a simple statement of fact. Any thesis statement is a argument that needs to be proven through the body of the essay. A second piece of a thesis statement is that it is most often a single sentence.

There are two fairly standard ways to write a thesis. The first is the "statement, then reasons" format. This kind of thesis will state an arguable point, and then it will provide 2–3 reasons. For The Things They Carried, this kind of thesis statement might look something like the following: "The Things They Carried offers a unique and important view of the consequences of war because of its narrative style and diverse characters."  

The other thesis style format that I recommend is the "point and counter-point" format. This one begins by stating something that you intend to disprove. The first part of the sentence will be a dependent clause, and the second part will be the independent clause. I usually tell my students to start this type of thesis with the word "although" because it guarantees that complex sentence format. For O'Brien's novel, that kind of thesis might look something like the following: "Although some readers might view The Things They Carried as just another run-of-the-mill war novel, it is actually a unique analysis of the toll that war takes on individual soldiers."

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The key to writing a thesis statement is understanding that it is simply a one- sentence summary of the main claim or "thesis" of your essay. If you are struggling to write a thesis statement, that often means that you are having difficulty focusing on whatever your main claim is. 

Because The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is episodic in nature, covering the experiences of the men of Alpha Company during the Vietnam war, you should choose some one aspect of the book about which to write. For example, one of the elements appearing in several parts of the book is the use of recreational drugs, which was surprisingly common among the soldiers. You might create a thesis such as:

The prevalence of drug abuse among the soldiers described in The Things They Carried seems to have been a response of the unique stresses of guerrilla warfare.

With such a thesis, you would then go on to show examples to support your claim, perhaps focusing on the character of Ted Lavender.

The link below to the Purdue Online Writing Lab gives several other examples of thesis statements. 

harmon324 | Student


Your thesis statement is a good start!

Since each soldier has its own way of coping with the physical and mental stress of war, while not understanding its purpose at all, you can see how each carried around what was important to them. 

How about something like, " Soldiers participating in a war they do not understand, suffer physical and mental anquish trying to cope with the horrors of it all.

You can discuss issues such as abandonment, hopelessness, drug abuse, etc. 

You could discuss the different types of physical and mental strain.

user1928029 | Student

Thank you, I love it. This is perfect and contains all I want to write about.

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The Things They Carried

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