It may seem like a “strong thesis” is an ever elusive concept the remains just out of reach. If you feel like this, don’t worry. I’ve been there too. But, I’ve since been enlightened and received the golden key of insight that unlocks the gate to the land of perfect theses. Okay, maybe not. Either way, here’s four fast tips to help you write a killer thesis statement without sweating too much.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get sidetracked by trying to find fancy words for your thesis. Don’t get caught up in word choice yet. Just take a few minutes to jot down some things that you want to prove in your paper. You need to know where you want to go before you can worry about making it sound good.
Instead of saying, “The literary devices in 'Pride and Prejudice' reveal a deeper meaning,” say, “Jane Austen’s use of irony in 'Pride and Prejudice' seeks to correct the Romantic era’s emphasis on money in marriage.” In the second thesis, you can see the specific type of literary device and know what specific “deeper meaning” the writer will be arguing.
What is the point of arguing something that everyone can agree with? It may be easy but it is also incredibly boring. For example, if you wrote, “'Going After Cacciato' is a fictional story about the Vietnam war,” you’d have a problem because you are using the thesis to simply describe the book rather than make an argument. Instead, you could write, “In 'Going After Cacciato' by Tim O’Brien, the real conflict is between the soldiers and the land of Vietnam.” Or, “In 'Going After Cacciato' by Tim O’Brien, the central conflict is between the soldiers and their fear.” These are great theses because you can argue against them.
This helps because it gets you in the mindset of argument. Let’s look at the previous example. “I am going to prove that 'Going After Cacciato' is a fictional story about the Vietnam war.” It doesn’t make sense. No one needs to prove that this book is about the Vietnam war because it is about the Vietnam war. The brief synopsis on the back of the book could tell you that. After you get a thesis that makes sense with “I am going to prove that..,” delete the phrase and marvel at the killer thesis you’ve just created.