A1.1 step 1: thesis statement for literary essay
Read: “Your Thesis Statement” in the Module One Resourcesfolder. For more detailed information, read “Draft and Revise a Thesis Statement” on pages 14-19 in Rules for Writers, 8th edition.
- Choose one of the topics and approaches provided for you.
- Write a working thesis statement for the topic and approach you chose. Your thesis statement must be an analysis, not just a statement of fact about the novel.
- Your professor must approve your thesis statement. If you did not receive at least a 70, you need to revise. You are permitted three attempts in this assignment, and the highest grade will be recorded.
Click on A1.1 Step 1: Thesis Statement for Literary Essay to begin.
Your Thesis Statement for the Novel Disgrace
Like any paper you have ever written for a first-year composition course, you must have a specific, detailed thesis statement that reveals your perspective. When writing about literature, your perspective must be one which is not overtly obvious. In this folder you will find a page titled “Choose One Topic and Approach.” You will find several topics and approaches to choose from, but you will write your own thesis statement. When deciding on your thesis, pay attention to what to do/not to do here:
You would not want to write a thesis like this:
J. M. Coetzee’s novel, Disgrace takes place in post-apartheid South Africa.
That doesn’t say anything. Basically, it only states a fact about the story. It does not go beyond the obvious. Also what is not acceptable is the following:
Disgrace, a novel by J. M. Coetzee, traces a white middle-class professor as he faces disgrace for having sex with a student.
That doesn’t say much either. It is merely a one-sentence summary of the novel’s plot.
A better thesis would be something like this:
J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace suggests that the white professor’s disgrace reflects the disgrace and shame of whites in post-apartheid South Africa.
That is debatable, maybe even controversial. Some scholars might disagree with the above statement. If your thesis statement is not completely debatable, it should at least make a statement that is not obvious, seeing the work in a different way through thought and discovery.
For more details on writing a good thesis statement, check your handbook Rules for Writers and read “Draft and revise a working thesis statement“ pages 14-19.