THESIS PARAGRAPH. HOW TO APPROACH YOUR FIRST PARAGRAPH.. A thesis is another name for your argument. It answers the question “What does the student argue about the topic? ” and “Why is this significant? ” A thesis is not the same as a topic. For example: Topic: gender roles Thesis: “Pippi Longstocking is a heroine who challenges traditional gender roles. Unlike ‘good little girls’ like Annika, Pippi is physically strong, brave, and challenges authority. Now I have something that doesn’t just state WHAT the essay will be about, but gives an argument about the topic. But it could be better. I should go a little further: “Pippi Longstocking is a heroine who challenges traditional gender roles. Unlike ‘good little girls’ like Annika, Pippi is physically strong, brave, and challenges authority. Pippi serves as a model to young girls that they, too, can possess these qualities. Readers learn that there is something positive about acting outside of the traditional female role. ” And it could be better still! I could “flesh out” my idea to give it still more significance, and place it in context. “Pippi Longstocking is a heroine who challenges traditional gender roles. Astrid Lindgren wrote Pippi Longstocking in 1950, when women’s roles in industrialized nations were limited to the home, following World War Two. She originally told the stories to her daughter while the little girl was ill; perhaps the stories were meant to encourage the girl to be strong like Pippi. Physical strength is not traditionally encouraged in girls. Girls are generally trained to be fearful, dependent on others, and to be obedient. Books can change that: young readers learn from such heroines as Pippi, Anne of Green Gables and Leslie in Bridge to Terabitha that there are positive results from acting outside the traditional female role. Unlike ‘good little girls’ like her friend Annika, Pippi is physically strong, brave, independent, and challenges authority. She is a model for ‘girl power’ that girls over 50 years later can follow. ” This is a thesis paragraph. It goes beyond stating the topic (Pippi and gender roles) to provide context and details–and a reason for the essay. I have to prove in the following paragraphs exactly HOW Pippi is “physically strong, brave, independent, and challenges authority. ” This listing gives the reader a guideline for the essay. The body of my essay should follow it: Introduction: thesis paragraph. Body (points): 1. Pippi’s unfeminine strength 2. Pippi as brave 3. Pippi as independent 4. Pippi challenges authority. Conclusion. You are not restricted to one paragraph per major point. For instance, if I had a lot to say about Pippi challenging authority, I could devote more than one paragraph to it. I could devote several paragraphs to it, depending on my evidence and how much detail I wanted to give to it. The essay that follows the above outline could be 1 ? pages or 25. Think of your thesis paragraph as a “road map,” telling the reader where you’re going (what you’re arguing), what your stops are along the way (your points), and why.
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