The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

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What could be a good thesis statement relating to the themes of The Graveyard Book?

Quick answer:

This thesis statement offers a clear indication that the author does more than describe the roles of different family members. The statement gives specific examples of how the author develops the theme, thereby telling the reader what to look for in order to evaluate whether it is effective. Detrimental aspects: This thesis statement does not indicate that Bod’s biological family is involved in his life. It also leaves out any reference to Miss Lupescu’s role, which may be important to one reader but not another, as well as Miss Lupescu’s motivation for looking after Bod when she knows he has a destiny beyond the graveyard walls.

Expert Answers

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Crafting a thesis statement about a novel’s themes is a multi-step process. The first step is to determine the primary and secondary themes. The next step is to figure out the degree to which those themes relate to each other by looking at the ways the author has developed each theme. The author’s success can be based in effective characterization, plotting, mood, and other techniques. What each reader decides about how the author has developed the theme will differ considerably. In the final step of writing the thesis statement, the writer can draw on the theme itself and on the author’s techniques.

Here is one example: The concept of family is crucial in The Graveyard Book. The protagonist, nicknamed Bod, is left an orphan after his parents are killed and he narrowly escapes. He is guided and protected by Miss Lupescu and numerous other graveyard denizens. While Bod is grateful for their nurturing, he also understands that he is a solitary figure and, to some extent, his destiny for other purposes. While the others aim to keep him safe within the prescribed areas, he finds it irresistibly tempting to go beyond the confines.

This analysis encourages us to identify the importance of family as the primary theme and the relationship between nature and nurture—as shown by Bod's biological and adopted families—as a secondary theme. Each reader might see a different relationship as more important, so the thesis would reflect that opinion. One thesis statement based on those themes could read,

The author develops the theme that a family is a community of caregivers as well as a person’s biological kin by detailing Bod’s relationship to Miss Lupescu as a second mother.

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Your thesis statement should be specific about what the theme is.  A good example of a theme for this book is that we all have to grow up sometime, and part of growing up is leaving our childhood behind.

In The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Bod learns that part of growing up is leaving childhood things behind.

When Bod grows up, he has to accept that this means leaving the safety of the graveyard.

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