Thesis question??Hi, I am writing a paper on Frankenstein. The paper is four pages, double spaced and 12 inch font: I need help cleaning up my thesis statement: "Athough Robert Walton and Victor...

Thesis question??


I am writing a paper on Frankenstein. The paper is four pages, double spaced and 12 inch font:

I need help cleaning up my thesis statement:

"Athough Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein share common ambitions, their values are quite different from each other."

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You may wish to include your main points in your thesis, but you don't have to. This is the writer's choice. One online educational source I have looked at in regard to thesis writing gives examples of each method. The site also explains that if a writer chooses not to include main points in the thesis, the writer must be very certain which ones he intends to explain and support before beginning to draft his or her paper.

This is the method I prefer, both as a writer and as a teacher. The thesis should be specific enough to control the paper, but it does not have to be as specific as paragraph topic sentences. I always choose the structure in which the paper moves from a somewhat specific thesis to more specific topic sentences that are then explained and supported with the most specific evidence. The conclusion moves the reader back into a more general discussion, providing a nice balance to the paper.

However, if you choose not to include your main points in your thesis, you should write a brief and simple working outline listing the points you intend to cover, in the order you intend to discuss them. Your working outline will be your writing plan to keep you on track.

In regard to your thesis as you have developed it so far, I think it needs to be a bit more specific. For example, what kind of ambitions and what kind of values? Personal ambitions for power and moral values in regard to human behavior? Political ambitions and spiritual values? Develop your thesis by being more specific in terms of the ambitions and values you will be addressing.

Finally, one small correction in grammar "are quite different from each other" should read "are quite different from each other's." You need the possessive because what you are really saying is "are quite different from each other's values." This is an example of an elliptical construction. The completion of the thought is implied but not stated.

Good luck with your thesis. It suggests that you will be discussing some interesting points of contrast.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are very welcome. Don't get discouraged. Writing is a skill that we all learn through study and practice. Not too long ago, I was cleaning out some files and found some papers I wrote as a college freshman. I got good grades on them, but I was amazed at how much my writing has changed since then. Also, I have the papers I wrote in graduate school some years later. They look a lot more familiar to me than my college freshman papers!

The more you write, the better you will become at grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Besides working on writing, practice editing your own papers, and when a paper is returned with marked grammar errors or other suggestions, focus on those the next time you write. This always worked for me, and I hope it will be helpful to you.

The content of your thesis is really excellent, and a paper without strong content is a real problem, regardless of how perfect the mechanics happen to be. Content comes first, then organization, then polishing it up by using language well. Just keep writing, and you will master the mechanics. Good luck to you.

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You need to pick ways in which their values are different and then include them at the end of your thesis sentence.  You can include 3 of them and create a tricolon.  This has several benefits.  Tricolons seem to fit the way we think (recall all the things that we speak of in groups of 3).  When you include them, you will have focused your argument and set up a "roadmap" for your reader since these will be the points that you will be expanding during the rest of your paper.

As it stands, your thesis sentence lacks an argument that gives the reader any sense of what is coming ... "values are quite different" gives the reader no sense of what you are going to say about these difference, and the reader should be quite clear about this when he/she begins reading the argument in your paper.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This sounds good. You have combined the best of both approaches. I think your statement needs some editing in terms of grammar and sentence structure. I would suggest this edited version:

Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein share common ambitions, such as the quest for knowledge and the desire for recognition and absolute power; however, their values are quite different from each other's, specifically in terms of spirituality, morality, and empathy.

You need to drop the "Although" from the beginning because it creates a sentence fragment. "Desire" and "wanting" mean the same thing, so just combine here, and you need to use "spirituality" and "morality" to provide parallel construction with "empathy."

Make these edits, and I you are on very solid ground.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just something else that might be worth you thinking through in terms of your essay now that you have your thesis ironed out. It is clear that Shelley uses these two characters in her novel as foils for each other - that is their deliberate pairing is meant to exacerbate and highlight their differences. How does she do this, and why? Does she try to make us favour one as "better" than the other, and if so why? Do you agree with her verdict? Just some more questions to help stimulate some ideas that could be useful. Enjoy!

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You may want to remark on how some critics have commented that Robert Walton is a younger version of Victor Frankenstein.  This fits into your revised thesis above, since you can then go into what Robert Walton will do differently when his crew threatens mutiny...will he try to force them onward into the dangerous iceberg laden sea, or will he comply and sail home thinking of others instead of his name in neon lights for the discoveries he might make at the cost of human life? 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with poster #9. It's clear that the values of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein are different. You can't really argue that. Your thesis should be arguable, and accessteacher offers some great alternatives that could lead to arguing for or against. 

kamloopsgirl | Student

Excellent revision. My weakness is my grammar. I have the vision to write, but not the tools.

Thank you!

kamloopsgirl | Student

Thank you very much. I appreciate both of your suggestions and comments. I really feel so much gratitude. Thank you.

I have reviewed my course outline and included your suggestions in my new thesis, feedback please.


Although Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein share common ambitions, such as, the quest for knowledge, desire for recognition, and  wanting absolute power;  however, their values are quite different from each other’s, specifically: spiritual, moral, and empathy.