Guide to Literary Terms

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Thesis

Thesis - a proposition for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or disproved, or a dissertation involving research on a particular subject. A thesis is less general than a theme. Thesis novels or plays are referred to as those of ideas that illustrate, develop, and reinforce an attitude or point of view of their authors. In poetry, the thesis is the unstressed syllable of a metrical foot.

The term is from the Greek thesis, meaning “a placing” or “arranging.”

According to this definition, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin may be considered a thesis novel in that it was written as an anti-slavery work meant to instruct in the evils of slavery.

see: essay, novel