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Thesis statements are challenging


Plot Thesis Statement

I need to write a thesis statement that could be used to lead a three-to-five-page fiction analysis essay. Choose a short story we’ve read during this unit and consider its use of plot elements (climax, conflict, resolution, flashbacks, foreshadowing, etc) and write a thesis statement that includes:

(1) the author’s name,

(2) the story’s title, and

(3) an arguable, supportable claim regarding the plot of the story. Your claim should emphasize how the plot elements create or reinforce meaning in the story (what purpose do they serve?).


1.  “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates

2.  “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin


Helpful thesis tips:


A few more pointers for this thesis-writing assignment:

  • Thesis statements are challenging to write, so don’t be disheartened if you find this process difficult.
  • Use the example thesis statements in Lesson 2 as guides in future assignments that require thesis statements.
  • Setting, tone, characterization, allusions and metaphors are all important, but they aren’t elements of plot.
  • If you’re writing about “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” be careful to not insinuate that Connie is to blame for what happens to her.
  • It is essential that you connect elements (like foreshadowing) to meaning (like “to show the dangers of following tradition” or “to illustrate how much the past influences the present” or “to contrast illusions and reality.”)

Example thesis statement:

In “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien uses flashbacks and foreshadowing to illustrate how interconnected the events in the story are, revealing the truth that events from the past continue to affect the present………

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