This is how you get to a good analytical thesis:
1. Ask a good question
* Why is the author doing this?
* Why is this character here?
* Why do these characters disagree?
* Why is the narration like this?
* Why is there so much _____ in this story?
* Repetition: words, things, types
* Word choice
* Character's actions, style, relationships
* Sound, tone
* How you feel when you're reading
* Write down all of the details (yes, quotations!) that fit your observations or your question.
3. Take a stand!
* Answer your question or identify a pattern
* You may feel uncertain... this is a good thing! It means that your thesis is not obvious
4. Write your thesis in one clear sentence
How to test your thesis (is it analytical? is it good?)
* Can you imagine a reasonable person who has read the text saying, "I disagree"? (you want them to be able to disagree)
* Can you inderline the part of the thesis that requires proof?
* Is the thesis taking sides in an argument?
* If the thesis is in the middle, is it highlighting the complexity of the argument?
* Can you prove the thesis?
* Does it matter? (is there a "so what"?) [I often run into this problem while writing]
* Can anyone who reads the text see your argument just from hearing your thesis? (too simple or observational)
Example of good and bad thesis statements:
* Sherman Alexie uses the motif of food to demonstrate and explore the struggle between love and hate that many of his characters experience.
* Gish Jen uses the differing attitudes of the mother and the father to show that the struggle between old and new is not limited to a generational divide.
* The narrative style of Omelas creates a discomfort in the reader that LeGuin hopes will mirror her own discomfort with the gap between privilege and oppression.
* In Walker's Everyday Use, the mother's inner ambivalence is more painful than the outer struggle between her two daughters.
* Sherman Alexie uses food as an important motif.
* In Gish Jen's story, The American Society, the mother and father have differing views about the struggle between old versus new.
* The narrator in LeGuin's Omelas creates a sense of discomfort in the reader.
* In Walker's Everyday Use, the mother is ambivalent as to which of her daughters should keep the family quilts.
"hmmm from flat to fabulous in seconds... it would be nice if there were boob bump its."
Respect is love in plain clothes.