Please provide thesis improvement help.I have a thesis but I can't seem to find the right words to form a solid statement. My thesis: The power of conformity and greed is able to overcome a...

Please provide thesis improvement help.

I have a thesis but I can't seem to find the right words to form a solid statement. My thesis:

The power of conformity and greed is able to overcome a person's conscience and morals. It is not until a character goes through a difficult process of realization and awareness of one's faults, that he can change and improve his future.

Improvements and suggestions are much appreciated!

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My first suggestion is that you study your thesis to make sure it isn't missing important elements, perhaps words, which will provide a firmer foundation from which to begin. Sometimes doing this is as easy as reading the statement again; sometimes using a grammar check, if available with your computer's word processing software, can help.

My understanding is that you are putting forth this argument: there are undesirable aspects to life that can interfere with one's moral behavior, and that it may be necessary to confront serious difficulties in life in order to change oneself.

You have two separate and powerful thoughts in your thesis, and this is a good beginning.

The Owl: Purdue's Online Writing Lab offers the following advice for writing a thesis statement:

Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

This is helpful information to refer to while writing. It should also be of central concern when rereading, proofreading, and editing your paper, which you should do more than once: the more, the better.

The statement about making your thesis statement specific is something you have done; you simply need more clarity, easily accomplished with what you have already written. This is probably something I would feel comfortable with: it is "streamlined," perhaps a little more concise.

Conformity and greed can compromise a person's conscience and sense of morality. It is not until someone goes through realization and self-awareness, which often takes place during a time of difficulty, that one can address his or her faults, thus making changes toward self-improvement in order to ensure a more favorable future.

(The second part of the first guideline listed by The Owl... is to support your thesis with specific evidence in your paper, to prove your statement is correct.)

I hope this is of some help.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I always appreciate a student who has an idea and wants to make it better, so good for you to ask for some input on your thesis. I am not sure in what context you will be writing (using life experiences, using literary characters, or something altogether different), but the principle should be the same for any of them.

Your first statement, that the pressure to conform and the power of greed can be stronger than one's moral principles, is probably quite provable both in real life and in literature. It does seem rather "loose," though. In one sense it is awfully broad to cover both conformity and greed; in another sense it is awfully narrow to limit yourself to conformity and greed. The second half of your thesis says that it takes a crisis to cause a change; however, I see little connection between this idea and the first one. Are you inferring that a crisis is the catalyst which can cause one to re-connect to those moral principles?

Perhaps you should consider something like this:

Pressure to conform and the lust for more [greed] can be more powerful than one's moral principles;often it is a personal crisis which offers an opportunity to make a change for the better. 

This is still a bit convoluted and a little vague because I am not sure if you have something specific in mind when you list conformity and greed, or if you are using them as examples of other moral failings. These two would work well for, let's say, The Crucible; however they would not be particularly applicable to The Scarlet Letter. Think about your examples and be sure what you have listed really fits the piece to which you're referring.

A thesis should articulate a clear position and be provable, so make certain you do both.

I like where you're going with this, but it's still a bit too vague to be satisfying. Keep at it and you'll get there!