Law and Politics

Start Free Trial

Student Question

How could the following statement be made into a strong thesis? "Several Supreme Court decisions have said that art containing explicit sexual images is not necessarily pornographic."

Expert Answers

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

To complete the assignment to change the comment that several Supreme Court decisions have said that art containing explicit sexual images is not necessarily pornographic to a strong thesis statement, focus on the purpose of a thesis statement.

A thesis statement, generally placed at the beginning of a paper to introduce the primary theme the author will attempt to analyze and discuss, alerts readers to the topic and also generally to the position that the author will take regarding the topic. It clarifies the writer’s take on the topic and enables the reader to understand what the writer intends to explore. This means that the writer has to take a stand and show how they intend to support the thesis. The thesis statement should narrow the topic down so that the reader does not expect the writer to argue beyond the scope of the paper.

In this case, the topic at hand is not specifically about art containing explicit sexual images, nor is it specifically about pornography. Rather, it’s about the Supreme Court’s position on art containing explicit sexual images and whether such images rise to the level of terming such art “pornographic.” Depending on the writer's point of view, one direction could be:

The Supreme Court’s position that art containing explicit sexual images is not always pornographic is appropriate because…

What follows “because” depends on what the writer wants to explore. For example, the thesis statement could say the Supreme Court’s decision is appropriate because throughout the ages, art has portrayed relevant sexual images in ways to tell a story and only art that incorporates superfluous, unnecessary sexual images should be considered pornographic.

The writer could continue on to explain that they will explore several paintings or books considered overly sexual at one time are now part of the Western canon. For instance, when it was first published, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was considered pornographic and was banned in the U.S. and the U.K. However, by today’s standards, the images that were deemed too sexual seem extremely tame, certainly when compared to other modern works of literature or art. The author’s purpose was probably not to shock readers about what would seem pornographic then, but to force a more honest conversation about society, relationships, classes, and sexuality than people were having then in books, art, and discussions at the time.

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