Name:____________________________

MODS:____________________

Thesis Statement/ Outline
___________/ 15 points
A thesis is the proper center of an intellectual argument. The thesis statement is the guiding force of
your literary essay. Your thesis statement not only defines the tone and style of your paper, but also
shapes the subsequent research, analysis, quotes and secondary sources that will become the meat of
your final essay.
The outline for your paper must start with a clear, concise thesis statement. Your thesis statement
should contain four basic elements that will all converge in a single, defining sentence. The four
elements are: (a)the author, (b)the work, (c)your claim or position and (d)your central focus. For
example, a strong thesis statement for a literary essay on the play, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen,
might look something like this:
In (B) A Doll's House, (A) Henrik Ibsen pointedly captures (C) the disparaging role of women
in Victorian society through his doll motif, (D) played out in Nora's sudden distaste for her
home.
(Note that the thesis statement above does NOT contain any first or second-person statements such as
“I believe,” “we know” or “you may see.” Avoid first and second-person declarations throughout your
outline and literary essay.)
Using the diagram below, map out the four elements of your literary essay; then, combine these
elements into a clear thesis statement.

Author:

Work:

Position:

Focus:

Continue to the reverse of this sheet to outline the three body paragraphs of your essay

Body Outline:
Now that you have created a thesis statement, you may proceed with the body paragraphs. Concentrate
on your position claim (the position + the focus). This claim will guide the organization of your paper.
You must now decide exactly where the critical lens of your thesis will concentrate its argument. Are
you going to discuss one setting and how it is revealed throughout the novel? Are you discussing a
single character? Several characters? How will you prove this thesis using primary source evidence?
Remember, the topic sentence is an expansion of the focus in your thesis statement (e.g. if the focus in
your thesis is the effect of different settings on Oliver in Oliver Twist, then your topic sentences must
address specific settings and their effects throughout the novel). Record specifics from your novel in
the enumerated lines provided below the topic sentence. Write the specific element or quote and page
number.
Body Paragraph 1 Topic: ______________________________________________________________
1.
2.
3.

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Body Paragraph 2 Topic: ______________________________________________________________
1.
2.
3.

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Body Paragraph 3 Topic: ______________________________________________________________
1.
2.
3.

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