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How to write a more complicated thesis statement?

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I'm a suffering IB english student in my second semester of Junior year.

We've read many novels, and I read them all, and took notes on all of them.

However, when it comes time to writing an essay or giving an oral presentation, all my thesis topics are too simple, and everytime I get a bad grade because of this reason.

How do you make your thesis more complicated?

Here's an example of 2 essays I wrote earlier in the year. The first one got an A since it was simple and it was the beginning of the year.

The second one got a C because the thesis was too simple, which wrecked the whole paper, and I've been getting C's on my papers and orals since.

So how do you use higher level thinking while analyzing a book to make a thesis statement?

Spoiler - Click me!

Martinique was being occupied by France for some time before it obtained its own independence. Throughout this occupation, France was forcing its own culture on the citizens of Martinique. To bring back some Creole culture, Patrick Chamoiseau wrote School Days which celebrated the many ways of what it is to be Creole through unique characterization, descriptive setting, and the beauty of the Creole language by having Creole culture outshine the negativity of French culture.

Through the characters in School Days , Creole culture was displayed in a good light compared to the French. The main character in the book was Creole, he was a little boy who was innocent and young. Chamoiseau wrote, ``The little boy had no choice but to steal through the crowd, oh so tiny as an ant, slinking slier than a slippery-slidy slink...none of the avengers could make the connection between the apocalyptic dust could and the trembly ashen-faced black boy''. When a boy is seen running around, and having his own adventures, connotations of ``cute'' and ``innocent'' are associated with Creole culture, because the little boy is Creole. The boss of the school was Monsieur le Directeur, he was French and he had, ``A stern look, gray hair, hands clasped behind his back, shoulders beneath the combined burdens of wisdom and worry...His presence galvanized the teachers...His eye was all seeing''. When anyone comes across a man like this, regardless of his race, their connotations will be that he is strict, mean, and a busybody. Because he is French, the reader associates him with France. The main character who represents Creole culture, compared to Monsieur le Directeur, who represents French culture, seems friendlier and someone anyone would like more which reflects upon Creole being a better culture.

Various settings played a major role in magnifying Creole culture. Away from French culture and school, the little boy lived at home with his family. Chamoiseau said, ``The Big Kids never moped after school. They seemed happy to return to the nest. As soon as they got home, they made themselves comfortable, as though they'd reached port in a storm. They greedily invaded the two rooms frisking joyfully around Mam ninotte, clinging to her and bombarding her with words while she fixed them a four o' clock stale bread, margarine, and hard sausage.'' Home was where everyone on the family met, ate, had fun, and relaxed in Creole. It gives the sensation of belonging, security, and comfort. All these feelings are associated with the Creole culture, since all those activities are what you do at home in Creole. However, in Martinique, the French setting is school. This is where kids learn French, and also French culture. Patrick describes school as so:

They arrive in front of a great wooden barracks of a place...There, throngs of little boys and mamas mil around in a turmoil of prattling, shouting, and blubbering. Each Child's hair has been clipped down to the scalp, each child is fragrant with Ploum-Ploum and Etoile. The building is huge, towering several stories high, reaching for the sky.

The French school is described as scary, chaotic, very strict, and uniform. Because this is the only French setting in the book, France would seem like all the adjectives listed above. The Martinique setting of a peaceful home seems like a literal haven compared to the French school which would be the same as stating that the country of Martinique is better to live in than France.

The actual language of Creole and French played a big part in glorifying Creole culture. Creole isn't necessarily a beautiful language, but it was the language all the locals in Martinique grew up with. It was the language they spoke with their friends, and family, their first language. The main character's mother would even ``sing her son Creole counting songs when the boy was sick''. Creole served as a min identity for Creole culture. In School Days , students weren't allowed to speak in Creole. Chamoiseau said, ``Whoever skidded into a Creole word or errant turn of phase earned him a stinging swat on the legs''. Even speaking in Creole got a student physically punished. French was even degrading the Creole language, ``degraded to contraband, it grew callous from freight of insults, dirty words, hatred, violence, and tales of catastrophe. Creole wasn't used anymore to say nice things. Or loving things either''. French demolished the language of Creole. French took over as the proper language, and turned Creole into a dirty, thug language. Since languages are an essence of their corresponding culture, French culture figuratively murdered Creole culture. Chamoiseau had French seem like a murderous, giant tyrant that has done an evil deed to ``poor little'' Creole.

Creole Pride! Patrick Chamoiseau used France as an evil force to compare and glorify france with through many elements in his book. It left a lasting impression on the audience to help them appreciate Creole a little bit more.

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Spoiler - Click me!

Throughout different cultures and countries, lying has different stigmas everywhere. In the book Woman Warrior , many of the characters tell lies blatantly. Maxine Kingston wanted the audience to realize that lying, even if for good or bad motives, will always have an unfortunate outcome, while telling the truth is golden, by using specific character's actions and emotions. She explained how lying for good, lying for bad, and how good truth can be throughout this whole book.

According to Maxine, lying is bad in general, but lying for selfish or bad motives is even worse. In the beginning of the novel, Maxine's aunt's story was being told. Her aunt was having sexual relations with another man, and the man told her, ``If you tell your family, I'll beat you, I'll kill you.''(7) Until this secret got out, the aunt had been lying to everyone in her village about being pure. To show that lying brings bad consequences, the villagers pillaged the aunt's house, and the aunt later committed suicide with her baby. This is the first instance of lying we see in this novel. Since this lie came with the consequences of death, shame, and suicide, the audience's first impression of lying is connotated with the feelings of death, shame, and suicide. These feelings are a serious matter, so the audience realizes how severe lying can be. Later in the book, Maxine is describing the how to trick the American foreign policy. She says, ``Lie to Americans. Tell them you were born during the San Francisco earthquake. Tell them your birth certificates and parents were burned up in the fire,'' (167) Maxine is telling the audience directly to lie about illegal matters to gain citizenship. When this passage is read, it seems like lying is illegal and bad to do, since it associated with lying about your citizenship. Also, most of the readers of this book are American. When someone lies to the American government, an average American reader would realize that lies bring a bad outcome because they are used against his or her own country, even if he or she isn't very patriotic.

Even though someone lies for a good cause, it can still bring bad outcomes. In the chapter, At the Western Palace , Moon Orchid came to America to visit Brave Orchid. Brave Orchid wanted Moon Orchid to take back the husband that left her, and assured Moon Orchid that he would take her back. Brave Orchid said, ``I'll hit him. I'll protect you. I'll hit him back. The two of us will knock him down and make him listen'' Unfortunately, things don't happen the way Brave Orchid promises to Moon Orchid, and Moon Orchid doesn't take her back. Eventually, Moon orchid went mad, and ``she slipped entirely away, not waking up one morning''. Brave Orchid was doing a nice thing for Moon orchid, encouraging her to take her husband back, but that lead to Moon Orchid going crazy and dying. The reader sees this, and knows that the lie had a good intention behind it, but it ended up getting someone mental and killing her. A bad connotation of lying for a good sake is established, seeing it had enough power to kill someone. In White Tigers , Fa Mu Lan visits an old couple. They greet her, and ask her if she is hungry. She responds with, ``Yes, I have...Thank you..(``No, I haven't'', I would have said in real life, mad at the Chinese for lying so much)'' (21) Later in her training, Fa Mu Lan gets very hungry, almost to the point of dying, so a bunny sacrifices itself to save her. Fa Mu Lan tells a white lie to them, but it ends up killing a bunny in the end. Readers may feel that telling the truth and eating the rice would be a more humane option than killing an innocent bunny. Lying to achieve a good cause has been scarred in the audience's mind by a death of an animal, so it could add to the bad stigma of lying that is present in this book.

Many people use the phrase, ``Truth is Golden''. Maxine abides by this phrase, by associating pleasant things with telling the truth. Maxine's mother has been nagging her, and constantly criticizing her throughout her life. One day, she opens up and spills all the truths and the desires she has on her mind, ``I'm not retarted, there's nothing wrong with my brain,....I'm smart...I can get into colleges..I can do all kinds of things..I won't get married''(201) Maxine keeps reciting this monologue for a whole page and a half. The audience is relieved and happy to hear what Maxine has to say. Throughout the whole book, the mother has been saying little things that have been building up pressure inside of Maxine, and now, she is finally striking back. Good feelings of rebellion, and that feeling of ``getting that thing that's been bothering you off your chest'' had been associated with truth by having Maxine explode in this emotional feat.

[Close]

and

Edited by crazian

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I wouldnt say complicated. Complicated conveys confusion and misunderstanding. Try digging deaper into a novel and try to desopher hidden meaning and underlying tones. Then base a thesis around that.

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I wouldnt say complicated. Complicated conveys confusion and misunderstanding. Try digging deaper into a novel and try to desopher hidden meaning and underlying tones. Then base a thesis around that.

What do you think into while "digging deeper"?

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Like looking past the literal meaning of a book. Like yeah Crime and Punishment is about a man that goes and kills someobdy for the "betterment" of society. But instead of just talking about that you could talk about how Nietzsche's view on Existentialism and how that relates to his view on why he can kill somebody for the betterment.

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Start with a simple statement that somewhat subtly tells the reader the contents of your essay. Don't start with a blatantly obvious statement about the topic or a direct sentence like "this essay will talk about..."

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Start with a simple statement that somewhat subtly tells the reader the contents of your essay. Don't start with a blatantly obvious statement about the topic or a direct sentence like "this essay will talk about..."

If you read my past essay(s), you would see I don't do that.

I need to learn how to think deeper about a novel, which is really hard for me.

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Throughout different cultures and countries, lying has different stigmas everywhere.

That just reminded me of my teacher - she really hates these kinds of sentences and says that IB examiners really mark you down if you start with general sentences like "Throughout history love has been..." or "Around the world women are..." She says if its not specifically about the books its wasting words and it seems like ur BSing... :yes:

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That just reminded me of my teacher - she really hates these kinds of sentences and says that IB examiners really mark you down if you start with general sentences like "Throughout history love has been..." or "Around the world women are..." She says if its not specifically about the books its wasting words and it seems like ur BSing... :yes:

Agreed, IB hates it when candidates use overly general statements such as "Throughout history of man, women have been oppressed by mankind...". I recently finished my world lits and my teacher gave us photocopies of the subject report with examiner's comments on them so we could know what they hate seeing. And that's definitely one of them. Avoid all obvious statements and instead, provide them with something that conveys YOUR understanding of the text.

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In my experience, complicated is bad, when I do complicated my thesis becomes confusing and I get a lower mark.

You don't want complicated, you want specific.

like in the 2nd essay type thing what I'm getting from the thesis is 'that characters tell many lies and the author wants us to see that lying is bad."

It's a very general sort of thesis that can be applied to a dozen other books. If you want to have a better thesis try narrowing your idea down.

if you want to talk about lying in the novel then think about what lying effects and what this shows.

For example: instead of 'lying is shown throughout the novel in the author's attempt to show its consequences' try 'lying in the novel is used by the author to demonstrate the illusions of society and the moral consequences of the action'

that's my advice. I think complicated in English just makes things confusing and if you want a good mark you have to make yourself as clear as possible.

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That's because you can always do better. No one is perfect.

Advice - stick to a simple sentence with parallel grammatical structure. In any thesis, state the author's purpose along with 2 slants (could be contrasting or complementary). Try using adjectives and adverbs.

Ex. from a poem we read recently in class

The author laments the loss of tradition with nostalgic longing for the past and frank disapproval of the present.

Purpose - to express his sorrow over loss of tradition

slants - nostalgic longing and frank disapproval

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