Good Narrative Thesis Statement

Good Narrative Thesis Statement-44
Armed with an MFA, I began a new career teaching writing at a local university.Now I wax endlessly about the importance of thesis statements, which is the formal name for the sentence whose utility I discovered more than ten years ago.

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Had I come right out and said, “Some of my college friends decided their own dreams weren’t all that important and instead married men from wealthy southern families, as if they’d checked off all the boxes on a punch list, which turned out to be a big mistake,” what would entice the reader to continue?

But by crafting a thesis statement as metaphor, the writer defers to the reader’s intelligence; it allows the reader to experience her own moment of recognition.

The writer just has to write about something that has happened to them or a story, which can be funny, sad, happy, etc.

Narratives don’t really require any research or sources, and can’t really have a wrong answer since it is a story.

This can be helpful in the editing stage: before you add or delete, I remind my students, ask if your details – the sound of the pounding bass or the way the sunlight dapples through the trees – support the thesis statement.

And when crafting a conclusion, something students often tell me they find challenging, I remind them to consider the ending in the context of their thesis statement.

I show my students how other writers use thesis statements in their essays, and that the sentences can be eloquent.

Here’s one from Joan Didion’s essay “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream”: “This is a story about love and death in the golden land, and begins with the country.” Another good one – although it is technically two sentences – is found in Lars Eighner’s essay “On Dumpster Diving.” It reads: “I have learned much as a scavenger.

And I do think a writer should be able to articulate verbally the thesis of any personal essay he or she considers nearly complete.

My daughter is now eleven, and it’s been years since I stepped into a sandbox.


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