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Open a word document and name it “Silken Tent Thesis Statement”.

Type the following prompt and fill in the blank.

In a well-organized essay, analyze how the speaker uses the imagery and diction
of the poem to reveal his attitude toward _________________.

Possible choices include:

the woman (go in the “best” direction here – you guys mentioned a young woman, a
maturing woman, a harlot, and a mother)
the spider
his poetry
the ship
family
the Christ figure
anything else you might have thought of

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Step 1: Reword the prompt in the form of a question. Skip five lines.

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Step 2: Create an ineffective thesis from this prompt by making it a statement with
no argument. Skip one line.

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Step 3: Fix the statement by turning the statement into an argument worthy of
defending. Skip three lines.

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Step 4: Look at the original question and create a second ineffective thesis by
listing several obvious things in the poem without saying how they function. Skip
one line.

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Step 5: Make this ineffective thesis effective. Give the sentence tension by
arguing how those things function in the poem. (Make sure that you are not
stating the obvious – “The author uses words to convey his meaning.”). Skip three
lines.
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Step 6: Look at the original prompt and use vague and general terms in an abstract
manner to create an ineffective thesis. Skip one line.

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Step 7: Turn this into an effective thesis by turning their generalities into
specifics. Skip three lines.

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Step 8: Make the original question into a thesis statement that is combative,
moralistic, or judgmental….i.e. one that will turn the reader against you before
they even read the essay. (Use good judgment here and a healthy dose of
maturity). Skip one line.

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Step 9: Take out any inflammatory remarks and turn the sentence into an
argument with specific terms. Skip three lines.

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Highlight each of the corrected thesis statements. Look for the following and at the end of
each one, rate them on a scale of 1-5 based on the following criteria:

a. Is it an argument that needs defending?


b. Does it anticipate counter arguments?
c. Does it telegraph the basic structure of the essay without falling into the
“three main points trap”?
d. The argument is significant and substantial?