What would be a good thesis statement for "I'm a Fool" by Sherwood Anderson?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of salient ideas in Sherwood Anderson's "I'm a Fool."  One is the "poignant treatment of an adolescent's inferiority complex and his journey to maturity and self-knowledge" (enotes). Nevertheless, this is a rather commonplace theme, so you may wish to take a different aspect of the story to analyze.

One such aspect is Anderson's use of the first-person narrator.  For, by using this point of view, the naivete and emotional intensity of the narrator are evidenced, lending the narrative a sincerity and honesty that is moving and powerful, rather than trite.  With this focus on the first person point of view, then, the reader learns much more about the main character as he digresses and mentions his grandfather, etc.  In addition, the first person point of view reveals the sensitivity of the narrator in his introspection and establishes what critics call a "collaboration with the reader" in its telling as the reader must infer much from his digressions much as Mark Twain did in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Why not, then, construct your thesis statement around Sherwood Anderson's narrative techniques as they lend the story its poignancy and freshness.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A possible thesis statement for "I'm A Fool" is that the protagonist regrets his decision of pretending to be someone else and that his vanity hurts him in the end. He is relatively happy with his lot in life, working as a horse swipe, and he has little desire to be grander than he is. In fact, he believes his education, which came from traveling from town to town with a black man, is far superior to what college kids get.

However, when he meets a girl at a race and falls for her, he gives her and her friends a fake name and makes up a story about himself. He is so taken with her he imagines marrying her after only having known her one night, but, as he has given her a false name and address, he knows that she can never reach him. His vanity and desire to seem important results in his inability to see the girl again.

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I'm a Fool

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