Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Hate Thesis Statements

Thesis: the-sis, noun, a proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections. I hate thesis statements. My branch of writing is creative, relying on breaking the rules instead of following the rules. My dad says that he and I think in a very non-linear fashion, which results in the two of us being able to see things from different points of view. One of his favorite sayings is "if you only think outside the box, you limit yourself to three-d." Not many people would think of writing a protest to thesis statements in a semi-formal five paragraph essay like I am attempting here. In a formal essay, the entire process is based around developing a clear and concise thesis statement to clarify what the whole essay is about. Contrasting such clarity, creative writing does not require the identifiable theses to the same extend. While thesis statements are useful for some forms of writing, for many people they provide more headaches then benefits. (9)

In creative writing, a thesis statement is not a thesis statement at all, but rather a premise. Daniel Schwaubauer stresses the importance of having a premise in his story writing curriculum, One Year Adventure Novel, affectionately known as OYAN. This premise can be as simple as "Love conquers all, even in the darkest of circumstances," but the major difference between this kind of premise and a formal thesis is that premises do not have to be directly stated and need only be implied. Many masterful authors are successful at hiding premises deep within their stories; would the Narnia books by CS Lewis be so successful if Lewis had not managed to bury his message of Christ's sacrifice and resurrection so deep within his story? In a 'webinar', above mentioned Daniel Schwaubauer takes about his experience with a school librarian who did not know that the message of Christ was even in the Narnia books. The very essence of a hidden premise makes storytelling so much more appealing than formal writing to many people who think in non-lateral ways. Of the many beginning novelists I've met, almost all of them profess to having some kind of insanity problem. If an author were to state "love conquers all, even in the darkest of circumstances," at the end of the first paragraph of his book, would you still be interesting in reading it? No. Outright stating a premise gives away the entire meaning, the entire purpose, of the book. (8)

Throughout my life, I have done very little with thesis statements. What few writing classes I took might have required some version of a thesis statement, but for a simple paragraph, thesis statements aren't always that challenging. In poetry and journalism, there is more freedom to write without the necessary thesis, and to be honesty, the class I took in newspaper writing was more concerned with sentence structure and the fact that 'Sue owns a cookie shop.' Ah, the good old days. My mother forced me to learn the basic necessities of five paragraph writing through a book Jensen's Format Writing, written by Jensen Frode. There were many times during my experience with this book that, frankly, I wanted to tear it to pieces, however, I will admit that without Jensen's Format Writing I would be dead in the water when it comes to thesis statements. The more I am forced to write formal essays, the more I understand the necessity for a strong thesis statement and yet I still strongly dislike following the rules of theses. (7)

Creating a thesis statement provides many people with a splitting headache. There is no way to state such a statement in a clearer way. According to my present English teacher, my thesis statements struggle because I attempt to write about more than I can handle within a short, five paragraph essay. In formal writing, a thesis statement is a one sentence summary of the entire paper, and to me, at least, that seems like a superfluous sentence. Presenting a clear and understandable discussion is not dependent on one sentence and one sentence alone. I have lost an entire grade point because of a weak thesis; there was nothing else wrong with paper besides for a few comma mistakes. To many English teachers, weak thesis leads to a poor paper, but that is simply not the case! Why should the grade of a paper be dependent on one sentence? In this paper, my introductory paragraph was nine or so sentences, my first body paragraph eight, my second body paragraph seven and as this is my third to last sentence in this paragraph, this third body paragraph is eleven sentences. Nine plus eight plus seven plus eleven equals thirty-five, and when you add the eight or so sentences from the concluding paragraph, the average five-paragraph essay should be about forty-two sentences. So why does all that rest on one statement, on one thesis?!  (11)

My social studies teacher tells me I have a problem with introducing new information while in the conclusion. I disagree with that being an actual problem. Why should the conclusion be limited to the restatement of things that have already be presented and clarified? What is the necessity behind that exercise? In an actual debate, in a speech, I would leave you with some parting comment to make you think, some extra bit of information that, in light of the debate you have just read, would cause you to look at a topic in a new light. Apparently, that's not allowed when writing in a formal way with a thesis statement. I've got a soccer game soon, so this will probably be slightly rushed... See, new information, does it matter that much? I hate thesis statements. End of story. So long, farewell, and thanks for all the fish.

5 comments:

  1. This makes me laugh. A five-paragraph essay about thesis sentences.

    XD

    You think nonlaterally? You ARE a creative person. You just think differently than everyone, including me, who also thinks differently than everyone. Yet you have an extremely logical, scientific, mathematical mind too. I don't see how those two can go together. It's not fair <.<

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  2. "The class I took in newspaper writing was more concerned with sentence structure and the fact that 'Sue owns a cookie shop.'"

    Amen to that =P Good times, good times. Except it was "Sue owns a cookie factory."

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  3. Whatever. =P Shop. Factory. Same difference.

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  4. You’re not the only one who would hate thesis writing, as there are a lot of people who love to hate it a lot. I agree with Sandy that each people think differently from one another. And thinking how to write thesis statement paper would certainly be different from each other. So, thesis has no exact formula to have a perfect thesis paper.

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  5. George of the JungleOctober 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    I think the format is past it's time, but you have written a very good thesis here.

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