What's a claim? How can I write a claim about The Odyssey?

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hhetzler77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A claim, also known as a thesis statement, is the main point or argument of an essay. Good claims make a debatable assertion about a topic and must be supported by evidence. In literary essays, claims can be interpretive or analytical. Interpretive claims attempt to explain an author’s use of certain literary elements, such as symbolism or allegory. Analytical claims usually evaluate the overall theme or perhaps the significance of setting in a literary text. Of course, claims are not limited to these examples and writers can make claims from a variety of other literary elements (e.g., character, irony, figurative language, foreshadowing, and so on).

When writing a claim, it is important to remember that you are arguing a point. If your claim does not require evidence, but is simply a summary of the story’s plot, then it is likely that you have not written a strong claim. However, if someone can disagree with you or have a different perspective on the matter—and you can back up your assertion with evidence from the text—then it is likely you have written a good claim.

Strong Claim: In Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus proves he is worthy to claim the title of "hero" through the many adventures and trials he faces on his journey home.

Weak Claim: Homer's The Odyssey is about a man named Odysseus who faces many trials as he is trying to get home to his family.

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The Odyssey

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