I need a topic on American Literature and a thesis...can someone provide me with an idea??

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm going to assume you're taking an American Lit. class and you can write an essay on anything you've studied in the course.  If that is accurate, then I'll just throw out a couple of thesis statements you might be able to use.

  1. The American transcendentalist movement mirrors/does not mirror British Romanticism.
  2. Melville's novel, Moby Dick, reflects American society in three ways:...
  3. Crane's The Red Badge of Courage is/is not a realistic depiction of the Civil War.
  4. Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle uses satire and symbolism to demonstrate science's irresponsibility.

Obviously, the possible topics are endless.  These are just a few to think about. 

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps you could choose something very topical for your thesis to tie American Literature in with events today. I am thinking of the global credit crunh, the recession, umemployment and health insurance with F Scott Fitzgerald. In the novel "The Great Gatsby" we have a narrator training to be a bondsman - the very Wall Street traders who were partially blamed for today's crashes. "The Beautiful And The Damned" characters could be compared with today's celebrities (also an F Scott Fitzgerald novel.) Then of course Scott Fitzgerald himself went out of favor as more modern contemporary genres overtook him (more echoes of today.) Just a few ideas to get you thinking.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would first suggest that you choose a story (or specific topic) that you know and have read or studied previously, or at least one whose subject matter interests you. Once you have narrowed down your choices, try determining a specific theme or conflict within a story that might serve as a topic for your essay. Hopefully one of them will spur your interest further, and you can go on from there. I won't offer any specific themes or titles, since I really believe you should select one in which you are already somewhat knowledgeable or familiar. In the thesis, you should take a direct stance (pro/con, positive/negative, compare/contrast) about your selected topic.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would think that more detail would be needed in assisting in such a broad topic.  Perhaps, being able to identify a particular period of American Literature would be helpful here.  Additionally, I think that the notion of needing a thesis is critically important.  Discussion of the particular topic area or arena of focus could also be helpful here.  Does the thesis need to be an examination of particular themes in the writing, a comparison between authors of similar or different periods needed?  I think that more detail in such a realm would allow greater insight to be given in developing a coherent answer to such a question.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you can discuss any significant part of American Literature, I would suggest writing about the evolving view of the American Dream present in American Lit.  If you have to write about a certain literary era such as American Realism, you can still discuss the idea of the dream and have more than enough support for a whole essay.

If your essay is simply an analytical essay rather than an argumentative one, your thesis should include a reference to the American Dream and its connection to American Literature.