i need help developing a thesis for an academic essay on Miller's The Crucible: "In 1200-1500 words, critically analyze any aspect of theme or form. Be sure to have a thesis." i came up with this...

i need help developing a thesis for an academic essay on Miller's The Crucible: "In 1200-1500 words, critically analyze any aspect of theme or form. Be sure to have a thesis."

i came up with this thesis: In this essay, I argue that a society denying young adults an outlet to express their sexuality can lead to trouble within that society.

My professor said:  The statement needs to be specifically focused on the text; at the moment it is a general observation. Please rephrase it as an argument about The Crucible and give me a sense of how you will develop this argument.

Can someone help me develop a more "specific" thesis and give me some pointers on what I should discuss in my essay??

Asked on by jkwilson93

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I have to tell you that you have a very good starting point for this essay.  You really did identify a very strong part of Miller's work.  He is absolutely speaking about how there is a challenge in any society when adults do not give appropriate space to children.  You have that down quite well.  

Seeing that the topic area is already strong, I tend to think that the issue at hand is wording.  The most elemental approach would be to simply contextualize the existing statement into The Crucible:

In The Crucible, Arthur Miller suggests that in denying young adults an outlet to express their sexuality, Salem society experienced difficulty and trouble.

In this wording of the thesis, it is specifically focused on the text and is more than a general observation.  It has become part of the textual analysis and reflects something that Miller sought to illuminate as part of the drama.  

You could certainly point to the extended stage directions to open the drama, in which Miller speaks to the way in which young people are viewed in Salem society.  Miller argues that like most of Salem, Parris viewed children as "young adults," and "until this strange crisis he, like the rest of Salem, never conceived that  the children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes  slightly low-ered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak."  In such a description, sexual expression is definitely frowned upon as well as childhood release.  In making their children "young adults." Salem society experienced difficulty and trouble in the form of the witch trials.

I think that you can also speak of how Abigail really is confused about sexual notions of the good.  In Salem, where sexual outlet is forbidden and denied, she views sex in the form of power and control.  As a result, her desire to hold Proctor is one where she uses sex as a means of control, seen when they are alone. In the closing of the book, Miller suggests that Abigail escaped to Boston to become a prostitute, which could serve as further evidence that social challenges emerge when children are not given areas of release within a social configuration.

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