Good vs. Poor Thesis

A GOOD thesis should

  • be clear

  • state the argument’s main point

  • identify the title and author of a text being used

  • provide a reason or evidence to support your argument

  • argue something that isn’t obvious.

Worst Example:

This poem could be about many different things.

Very Poor Example:

The poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke is confusing and could be understood many different ways.

Still Poor Example:

The poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke is either about a child being beaten by his drunk father or about an abusive dance.

Slightly Better Example:

The poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke is about a child being beaten by his drunk father and covering it up by saying it’s a dance.

Even Better Example:

The poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke uses vague and ambiguous language about a drunken dance to cover up for the fact that the child is being beaten.

Good Example:

The child narrator in “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke uses ambiguous language to describe the drunken dance in order to convince both himself and the reader that he’s not actually being beaten.

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