Creating a viable thesis statement is a secret of success in academic writing

Final Paper – Step One

Creating a viable thesis statement is a secret of success in academic writing. When creating a thesis, remember that you are trying to persuade a reader of a point.. Having an insightful argument is going to lead to a more interesting paper. Consider David Williams’ description of a strong thesis (Williams, 2004.):

In anything you write, you need to be making an argument. This doesn’t have to be an angry confrontational argument. Nor does it have to be profound. But there must be some point to it all, some message you are trying to get across. If you cannot imagine anyone disagreeing with what you’re are saying, then your paper is not an argument. A paper saying the sky looks blue on a sunny day is not an argument. A paper arguing against wife-beating or racism is equally pointless. Who would disagree? You need to go beyond safe conventional moralisms and say something. Instead of merely denouncing wife-beating, argue that alcohol taxes ought to be raised to pay for federally funded women’s shelters. That’ll get you into an argument in any bar in America. (p. 13)

Williams, D. (2004). Sin boldly!: Dr. Dave’s guide to writing the college paper (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.

Choose one of the essay topics listed below; develop a thesis statement, and three supporting arguments or topic statements. Follow the template below for this assignment.  Please work to refine your statement. Your instructor is the final arbiter of what constitutes as a well-written thesis statement.

Please note:  this is the first of a series of cumulative writing assignments that will end with the completion of the final paper.


  • Point of View: Explore the concept of self as ‘other’ in Jumpa Lahiri’s Hell-Heaven.
  • Character: Analyze the relationship between narrator and author in the work of Margaret Atwood. (Focus on Happy EndingsSpelling, and This is a Photograph of Me.)
  • Imagery: How does Edgar Allen Poe use imagery to further plot in The Fall of the House of Usher or The Cask of Amontillado? Be sure to consider expositioncomplication (rising action), falling action (denouement), and resolution (hamartia)
  • Explore the interplay between rhythmimagery, and metaphor in the work of Langston Hughes. Focus on five poems.
  • How does Ibsen’s use of setting render the play A Doll’s House a work of Realism?
  • Explore the diction of William Shakespeare’s Othello by explaining the significance of the playwright’s deft maneuvering between prose and verse.
  • Explore the dynamics between visual art and poetry. To what affect do the allusions of both works relate? Please use two poets from the color insert in the text.

Template for Step 1 of the Final Paper:
Topic: ____________________
Thesis: _____________________
Topic / Supportive Argument 1: ____________________
Topic / Supportive Argument 2: ____________________
Topic / Supportive Argument 3: ____________________

* Be sure to cite your primary text (the play / poem / story with which you are working.)

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