What is a potential thesis statement for Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan?

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jacquelineledoux eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of different themes in Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan, including, but not limited to, man vs. nature, identity, and freedom vs. confinement. 

Because the novel contains so many themes, you have the option of choosing from a variety of unique thesis statements. 

Here's one potential thesis statement you could use: 

In Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan, the theme of identity is explored as Ivan, a silverback gorilla living in captivity, goes from being totally content living out his life in the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade to realizing that he's a wild animal who's not meant to be caged.

* As I mentioned before, though, there are a number of different themes in this novel, so if you don't want to write about identity, you could always choose to write about man vs. nature (the people in the book represent humankind and the animals represent the natural world) or the concept of freedom vs. confinement instead.

In order to help you choose your theme, I've left you some questions to mull over:

  • Can Ivan still be "free" while living in captivity?
  • Is freedom about physical limitations or is it a state of being?
  • Where does Ivan's sense of self come from?
  • How does mankind impact the natural world?

Good luck!

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The One and Only Ivan

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