What are some ideas for a thesis statment for "The Road to Wigan Pier," by George Orwell?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, this is going to depend a lot on what you think of the book and on what part of it you are reading.

If you are talking about the first part of the book -- the description of the coal mining areas of Britain, your overall thesis might be something like:

  • The book shows very clearly why government regulation of workplaces and working conditions was and is necessary.
  • The book shows that there was (and still is) an underclass of people who do the dirty work.  They are no longer coal miners, for the most part, but they do the things that keep our society running.  We, for the most part, do not notice them even if we see them.

For the second part of the book, the main thing I can see is that you could argue for or against any or all of Orwell's arguments about why all British people were not socialist.  Or you can try to update the argument to the present day -- why are British not socialist now.

 

Something that might span both halves of the book could be:

  • Although Orwell criticizes machinery in the second half of the book, the first half shows very well why machinery helps working people and is, therefore, important.
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The key to a good thesis is that it makes an argument.  It cannot be a statement of fact.  There would be nothing to prove.  When I teach thesis writing to my students, I teach them to begin thesis statements with the word "although."  This guarantees that the first part of the sentence will be a dependent clause.  A dependent clause must be followed up with an independent clause; therefore, using "although" allows you set up an argument and counter-argument in one smoothly flowing sentence.  

Based on part 1 of the work, your thesis could be something like the following thesis statement. "Although Orwell's narrative describes events and working conditions in England, his narrative also effectively brings to light sordid working conditions around the world."  This kind of thesis would let you discuss Orwell's narrative as well as open it up to current worldwide events.  

An alternative thesis that stays much more focused on the actual literary work could be something like the following thesis.  "Although part 1 and part 2 differ in their style and topic, Orwell clearly illustrates in both sections that he cares deeply for the working class."