How can you start a thesis statement based on Richard Wilbur's "Beowulf" (1950)?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Hmm. How can I, or what would I argue? If I were seeking to create a thesis statement for an essay about this poem, I would start by reading and rereading the poem, to make sure I had a strong understanding of it. I would use related tools, like the explanations available in the enotes study guide (see the themes section: or the style section, for example:, to expand my understanding.

Then, I would start sketching out loose ideas. Where they would go would depend in part on how big the paper was and what limits I had. May I, for example, compare it to the epic Beowulf? To other twentieth century poems, such as Auden's "The Shield of Achilles"?

If I had to make an argument just about this poem, I would look at the relationship between style and content. Specifically, I would argue that the style fits the themes, and that the meaning of the poem can't really be grasped without discussing both.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial