What are some ideas for a thesis for a comparison/contrast essay which discusses drama as a piece of writing, as a play, and as a film? Is it too vague to simply say that drama in writing is the...

What are some ideas for a thesis for a comparison/contrast essay which discusses drama as a piece of writing, as a play, and as a film? Is it too vague to simply say that drama in writing is the best because, for example, readers can use their imaginations to formulate their own visions of the story?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a really interesting idea, and I am confident you have some specific examples in mind for your essay. Just thinking about my own experiences with drama as writing, stage production, and film, I generally agree with your position; I do, however, think your thesis needs to be a little more focused. Perhaps specific is a better word. 

The idea of drama as three separate things is not a difficult concept to grasp, but phrasing it in a non-confusing way is likely to be your biggest challenge. While a thesis does not necessarily need to contain your three or four specific points, it may be helpful to preview them in order to prepare your readers for what is ahead. I cannot presume to know what all your points of comparison are, so I will use the one in your question and add several of my own to demonstrate some thesis ideas.

Consider some of the following options:

  • Drama as a written work is more effective than drama presented on stage or on screen because readers are allowed to formulate their own images of characters, events, and settings in the play.
  • Written drama is superior to drama on stage or in film because it forces readers to use their imaginations rather than have characters, settings, and events presented by someone else.
  • The only accurate way to experience a dramatic work (play) is to read it as it was written, as a play or film version is simply the interpretation of one or more people.
  • The purest form of any drama is the written form; both stage and film versions must rely on things other than what is written to create dramatic effect for their audiences.
  • Stage and film versions of a play tend to distort the written work based on time limitations, the intended audience, and the vision of the director.
  • When drama is read and studied as written rather than as a stage or film production, the readers must pay more attention to the words and nuances of the play rather than rely on someone else to show them characters, meaning, and settings.
  • Reading the written version of a drama is more pleasurable than seeing someone else's interpretation of the characters, settings, and mood in stage or film productions.
  • Because stage and film productions of a drama require interpretation by costume and set designers, actors, and directors, they are less likely to adhere strictly to the work as written.
  • Reading a play provides more advantages for readers than seeing a play on stage or in film provides for their audiences.
  • Because reading is more interactive than watching, reading a play is more pleasurable for a reader than watching it on stage or in film is for an audience member.
  • Audiences watching a play or film are not allowed any personal interpretation of the work other than what they are given; those who read the play are able to create their own views about the characters, events, and settings of the story.

And the list could go on. 

You asked whether it is too vague to simply say that readers get to imagine things for themselves when they read and therefore the written version of a drama is best. I think the answer to your question must be yes, but only because it does not mention the other options. Even if that is the only point you intend to make, your thesis probably needs to include all three elements that are being compared and contrasted.

If you have not yet done so, consider your points of comparison. Make the lists and find the specific points of comparison and contrast. Your thesis should highlight one or more of those items.