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When writing an essay which analyzes a piece of literature, it is often most effective (and easiest) to write a theme statement and use this as the thesis statement for your paper.
A theme statement takes one or more theme subjects from a story, and basically defines what the author's purpose or message is through those subjects. This sentence should not be written as a statement of advice and it does not contain any plot elements, but it can be proven using evidence from the text.
From "Killings," you could examine any of the following theme subjects: revenge, violence, deception, or the father/son relationship. Using one or more of the above subjects answer the following questions:
- What is the author trying to say about [subject] in the short story "Killings"? Think in terms of cause and effect.
- How does the author accomplish this? Think in terms of literary elements such as character, irony, plot detail, figurative language, etc.
Once you've brainstormed answers to the above questions, you should be able to formulate a one-sentence theme statement which essentially answers question #1 above in a complete sentence. Then, group the answers from #2 into three categories, which will then serve as the body paragraphs (and basic organization) of your paper.
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