Need help with thesis statement.
I had to choose a book from a AP English 12 list and write a 5-paragraph essay on it. I had to come up with an arguable thesis & prove it by analyzing a theme, an aspect of style, & tone each in its own body paragraph.
My tentative theses:
"Through the use of paralleling generations in his first novel,The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini argues that one can atone for the past sins of his parents."
"In Khaled Hossieni's first novel, The Kite Runner, the fictional characters of Amir, Assef, and Hassan serve as allegories of the real atrocities of Afghan war."
I like the first one because it's an interesting topic and fits the weird paragraph format well. The problem is that I think it's too narrow, neglects a few characters, and seems extremely hard to prove.
I like the second thesis better. I saw everything fit together: Assef is like the Russian forces, Amir the Taliban (turned on their people for power/betrayed Hassan for Baba's love), and Hassan the innocent oppressed Afgh. citizens. Amir's late redemption also seems to represents how Afghanistan still has hope to redeem itself. Probelms: it seems a odd that I compare Assef to the Russians and he was a Taliban. This thesis wouldn't fit into the format smoothly. I may have break teacher's point-by-point essay outline to explain some things further. She seems picky.
Which should pick, if either? Any other topic suggestions? Anything I should reword? I have the summer to do it, but I have to do two more book reports.
2 Answers | Add Yours
First let me say, great ideas! Both are well thought and very well said. You clearly have a good idea of how to set up an essay with a fabulous thesis. Your teacher should be proud.
Obviously I think either of these would make great topics (although I question the first one, as he is trying to atone for his own childhood sins as much, if not more than the sins of his parents.)
The second one is certainly more ORIGINAL, and therefore more interesting. The fact that you are questioning your own ideas makes this a challenge worth persuing (in my opinion) because it means others have likely not already done it. If you can find examples to prove it (which could be done by drawing comparisons and might not be as tedious as you imagine) I'd go with the 2nd. Do you have the rest of the summer? Go for the challenge.
[added after some thought ->] Perhaps play with the word "allegories." I think the def. of allegory means the entire story is supposed to be overtly symbolic of something else, which this novel, as a whole, isn't. Just off the top of my head, I'm thinking the characters are "representations of" or "symbolic for" or "are meant to embody." Just extra thoughts.
Again, fabulous ideas. What a great year ahead of you...
I like the first thesis better, as well. it is much stronger, and not as hard to prove as you might think. Go back to your text; it's your primary source. Look at the places where you first saw the evidence that supports your claim. Make an outline to get your specific points in order. Your thesis for a short essay is not going to be able to include all the characters in the book, so don't worry about that. Stay focused on what you are attempting to show your reader about the text.
You can use kinship as your theme; somber, yet informal as the tone; and as far as style... well, what do YOU think?
It is true, your second thesis is easier to prove, but if you cannot fit it into the required paradigm, you'd better not go there, unless you can talk to your teacher and see if she will let you proceed. Often, if you have a good idea, your teacher will be supportive.
Then again, if you have all summer, why not give both of your ideas a go? See which one you like best. Kite Runner is a wonderful book; there are many possibilities for a great paper. Best of luck.
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