Chapter 5 – The Thesis

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Your thesis is the engine of your essay. It is the central point around which you gather, analyze, and present the relevant support and philosophical reasoning which constitutes the body of your essay. It is the center, the focal point. The thesis answers the question, “What is this essay all about?”

A strong thesis does not just state your topic but your perspective or feeling on the topic as well. And it does so in a single, focused sentence. Two at the most. It clearly tells the reader what the essay is all about and engages them in your big idea(s) and perspective.  Thesis statements often reveal the primary pattern of development of the essay as well, but not always.

Thesis statements are usually found at the end of the introduction. Seasoned authors may play with this structure, but it is often better to learn the form before deviating from it. However, we have spoken in the previous chapter about the various cultural factors that center these kinds of technical assumptions and how some cultural forms and rhetorical approaches prefer to place the thesis towards the end of the essay, after developing a relationship with the reader and, perhaps, leading them through a story and a voyage of discovery. Choosing to arrive at a thesis, instead of beginning from one. If you have ideas to alter the format of the standard essay in order to better align with your own cultural and individual background and perspectives, reach out to your instructor and the tutors and discuss how to most effectively do so. Often, with clear intention and collaboration, you can alter the “rules” of standard composition and essay writing with great impact and rhetorical effect. But you must do so with clarity of intention and precision of execution. Or at least, that should be the goal.

BEST: A thesis is strongest when the writer uses both the specific topic, and their educated opinion on it, for writing a detailed and clear main point.

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Composition in Cultural Contexts by Andy Gurevich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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