How can I give more clarity to my thesis statment for an essay on "The Necklace?"
My essay is about New Historicism's effect on the story, "The Necklace." But my teacher said my thesis statement lacks of clarity.
"Indeed, New Historicism evaluates how "The Necklace" is influenced by the time in which Guy de Maupassant wrote it through the struggling of the lower class and poor economic condition."
The thesis statement is the most important sentence in your essay. It should tell your reader what you are writing about clearly and concisely. A clear thesis statement is direct and to the point.
You have three main points you are trying to make in your thesis. First, it should be clear what New Historicism is. Second, it should be clear how New Historicism relates to the story. Finally, you need to relate specific events to the theme of the story as seen from New Historicism.
New Historicism is a literary theory focusing on the context in which the story was written. In other words, you cannot take the story out of context. The story has to be understood as influenced by its time period. Therefore, you need to say so in your thesis statement.
From New Historicism’s standpoint, “The Necklace” is a product of a society obsessed with wealth and status…
This is just an example. I chose this example based on what you included in your first thesis.
Now that we have been more specific on New Historicism, we need to address how this relates to the story. You are halfway there when you mention “the struggling of the lower class and poor economic condition” (that should be conditions). You need to be more specific though. How does the struggle of the lower classes relate to the historical context of the story?
From New Historicism’s standpoint, “The Necklace” is a product of a society obsessed with wealth and status, where the struggle of the lower classes to overcome economic hardships …
We are almost there. I clarified the “poor economic condition” and “struggle of the lower class” a little.
Finally, you need to relate this to some kind of theme. I would like to draw your attention to a quote from the story.
She dressed plainly because she could not dress well, but she was unhappy as if she had really fallen from a higher station; since with women there is neither caste nor rank, for beauty, grace and charm take the place of family and birth. (enotes etext pdf p. 1).
Think about how powerful this statement is. She is not happy because of her station in life. She was not born rich, so she cannot dress well. She equates dressing well with social status, because society does. She is therefore a product of her society.
From New Historicism’s standpoint, “The Necklace” is a product of a society obsessed with wealth and status, where the struggle of the lower classes to overcome economic hardships is represented by Mathilde’s obsession with material wealth.
You would go on to explain that because of this obsession with material wealth, Matildhe does not notice that she has wealth in other ways, in terms of a supportive husband, health, and good looks. She loses all of these things by the end in her quest for material wealth.