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How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay
Last Updated: February 16, 2024 Fact Checked
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 103,691 times. Learn more...
In a narrative essay, your thesis will be a bit different than in an argumentative or explanatory paper. A narrative essay is basically you writing a story for the reader. The purpose of a narrative essay is to make a certain point, using personal experiences or life events to convey your main point or theme.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source However, just as in a standard paper, your thesis will still appear in the introduction of your narrative essay.
Part 1: Preparing to Write the Thesis
- Come up with a topic that is important to you and that you feel you can talk about in a personal way.
- Another way to find a personal event is to look through your old social media posts, as they often chronicle important or meaningful events in your life.
- Remembering the details of the event through your five senses will also help to trigger other details or images you may have forgotten.
- For example, maybe you remember the taste of coconut after your grandmother's funeral, which will then help you remember that you all ate your grandmother's favorite coconut cake at the gathering after the funeral. You can then try to find that recipe and use it as a way to jog other memories of your grandmother.
Part 2: Creating Your Thesis
- For example: “In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief by discuss my grandmother's sickness, discuss my grandmother's death, talk about what happened afterwards.”
- Adjust your first attempt so it is grammatically correct: “In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief by discussing my grandmother's sickness, my grandmother's death, and what happened afterward.”
- You may want to create a thesis that is a bit more sophisticated and less stilted by removing the more formal phrase, “I will discuss”.
- For example: “Grief affects everyone's life at one point or another, and it certainly has affected mine; when my grandmother became sick and passed away, I had to learn how to deal with the aftermath of her death.”
- Avoid packing too many ideas into one sentence. Your thesis should help ease the reader into your essay, not confuse them.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/narrative_essays.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/narrative-writing/
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-write-narrative-essay
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/thesis/
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- How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips
How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .
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Table of contents
What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.
When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.
A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.
These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.
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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.
- Write a story about your first day of school.
- Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.
You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.
- Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
- Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?
In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.
For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.
Narrative essays in college applications
When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.
For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.
In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.
An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.
Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
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If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?
The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.
Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.
Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.
When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the widespread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is a narrative essay?
When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.
Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.
- If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.
This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.
- When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?
A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.
- The essay should have a purpose.
Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?
- The essay should be written from a clear point of view.
It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays oftentimes manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.
- Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.
Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.
- The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.
Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.
- As always, be organized!
Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).
A narration is simply the telling of a story. Whenever someone recounts an event or tells a story, he or she is using narration. A narration essay recounts an event or tells a story to illustrate an idea. A narration essay may be entertaining or informative.
Five Basic Steps to Writing a Narrative Essay
- Purpose: Why are you telling the story? Every narration must have a point or purpose, usually to entertain or to inform.
- Context: You should establish the context of your narrative early in the essay. You can follow these basic guidelines: who, what, where, when.
- Point of View: A narrative essay may be written in the first-person (I) or third-person (he, she, it) point of view; do not use second person (you). If you were part of the action, the first-person provides the best perspective. If you are relating an event based upon other sources, use the third-person point of view. In some circumstances, you may be forced to choose the point of view (if, for example, you were a witness, but not a participant). Once you have decided upon a point of view, stay consistent with it.
- Details: Include enough details for clarity; however, select only the facts that are relevant.
- Organization: A narrative usually follows a chronological time line; however, you may find flashbacks a creative option as long as the narrative can be clearly followed by the reader. Most narratives are told in the past tense. You should keep tenses consistent.
Thesis Statements for Narrative Essays
To create a thesis statement, combine the claim and the supporting details in one sentence. The direction of your essay can change depending on the pattern in which you organize the supporting details.
Once you have drafted a narrative, it’s always a good idea to ask someone else to read it. And, of course, you yourself will want to review what you have written from the standpoint of a critical reader.
Questions to Keep in Mind When Checking a Narrative
PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE. Does the narrative serve the purpose it is intended to serve? Is it appropriate for its intended audience? Does it need any additional background information or definitions?
THE STORY. Does it consist mainly of actions and events? Do they constitute a plot, with a clear beginning, middle, and end? Is every action in the narrative necessary to the plot? Have any essential actions been left out?
THE POINT. Does the narrative have a clear point to make? What is it? Is it stated explicitly in a thesis? If not, should it be?
ORGANIZATION. Is the storyline easy to follow? Are the events in chronological order? Are there any unintentional lapses in chronology or verb tense? Are intentional deviations from chronology, such as flashbacks, clearly indicated?
TRANSITIONS. Are there clear transitions to help readers follow the sequence of events? Have you checked over each transition to see that it logically connects the adjoining parts of the narrative?
DIALOGUE AND POINT OF VIEW. If there is no dialogue in the narrative, would some direct speech help bring it to life? If there is dialogue, does it sound like real people talking? Is the narrative told from a consistent, plausible point of view?
DETAILS. Does the narrative include lots of concrete details, especially sensory details (visual, olfactory, tactile, and auditory)? Does it show as well as tell? Can your reader imagine themselves there?
THE BEGINNING. Will the beginning of the narrative get the reader’s attention? How? How well does it set up what follows? How else might the narrative begin?
THE ENDING. How satisfying is it? What does it leave the reader thinking or feeling? How else might the narrative end?
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5 Steps and Tips in Writing a Thesis for Your Narrative Essay
Right after writing your introduction comes your thesis statement. Aside from the fact that it should draw your reader’s attention, it also helps them in identifying the main topic and the central purpose of your essay. Sometimes called as the controlling idea, your thesis statement also gives direction to the rest of the parts of your essay . It also gives limitations to what you are going to include in your composition so that you can make sure that whatever you are writing on the body or the conclusion is related and connected in any way with your thesis statement.
Since you are to write a thesis statement for your narrative essay, what you will be writing will be a tad different from when you are writing other types of essays such as expository, persuasive, and analytical essays . Thesis statements of narrative essays are often based on personal experiences of a writer, which you can rarely find on other types of essays, with an aim to impart an important lesson to the readers.
5 Steps in Writing a Thesis for Your Narrative Essay
Step 1: Read other narrative essays
Although this method does not do any actual writing, this will definitely help you in writing your own thesis statement. This is not to copy their style of writing but this is to expose you to the plethora of writing styles that will help you find your own. Make sure to take note and list down the points they made and how they came up with their own thesis statement. Since the thesis statement is a narrative essay, also take notice of the creative take of writers in their composition. Did they use wordplay? Did take simple experiences into mind-blowing ones through a strategic sentence construction?
Step 2: Brainstorm
Now that you have read other writer’s essays, it is now time to write your own. However, before you start writing the actual thesis, you have brainstorm ideas. This is to avoid any trouble when you would be starting to write your thesis statement.
Do not mind organizing; the point of brainstorming is to gather the ideas you can come up with that could be included in the thesis. Do not also mind whether it could or could not be included in the statement. You can crash out other ideas later on when you would be drafting the outline of your thesis statement.
The purpose of brainstorming is to just let your ideas flow without limits and also find connections between any ideas. It is also through brainstorming that your previous take on your essay will gain factors that lead to change. In the middle of your brainstorming, you might find the need to change the theme, or you can also find a better of a way of constructing the supporting sentences found further in your composition.
Step 3: Draft an outline
Develop the points you have gathered from your brainstorming through making an outline . Categorize the possible points that are on the same strand. You also have to ditch some ideas that are not that necessary for the thesis statement even if it is a difficult decision to make. After gathering the main points in categories and you find that it does not relate in any way to your main topic, do not hesitate to disregard those ideas; you can always go back to Step 2, or Step 1 if you badly need it.
Although thesis statements are not really that long that you need a lot of time to do some intense outlining, you have to remember that the thesis of your narrative essay is vital and treating it otherwise would cause the essay, as well as the readers, to lose its sight of direction or the path it intends to take.
Additionally, the outline of your thesis is not the outline of your entire essay.
Step 4: Master, but limit, your topic
Writing a thesis statement can be hard, but if you have mastered your topic by heart, then writing the thesis of your narrative won’t be as difficult as initially, you thought it would be. After mastering your topic, you might generate a lot of ideas but you have to remember that your thesis statement does not consist of five or more paragraphs that is why you should be limiting your topic. Get into a narrow scope that would capsulize as much as possible the ideas that you want to include in your thesis.
Step 5: Make a point
You might think that a narrative essay is similar to that of stories and that it does need to make any point at all. But that’s where you are wrong; narrative essays have a point. It makes its point to the readers through the thesis statement of your essay. Make sure that what you have written for a thesis statement should have a connection to your main topic. What good would happen if you only master your topic and the thesis you have written is pointless to your topic?
5 Tips in Writing a Thesis Statement for Your Narrative Essay
1. know your parameters.
Identifying your parameters in your thesis statement can actually help you in further supporting your main topic. Setting parameters is also a way of limiting your topic so that you won’t overwhelm your essay with a lot of broad ideas.
2. Never go vague or generic
Being vague or generic in your thesis statement won’t do you any good. If you put in some vague and generic words and ideas, then you will totally lose sight of direction, resulting to readers dropping your essay because they got lost in trying to understand your whole point.
3. Don’t be excessively and unnecessarily descriptive
The readers understand that you were breathing when you went into that adventure and they also understand that, of course, you opened the car door when you arrived at your destination.
4. Brevity is the key
You do not have a lot of paragraphs allotted for your thesis statement. Remember that your thesis statement summarizes the central theme of your narrative essay so make sure it is well summarized or else the readers would think it is already the body of the essay due to its length.
5. Show, don’t tell
Do not just tell the readers about the lesson you have learned from your personal experiences. You have to show them how significant the lesson is for you and how it can benefit them.
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5.3.3: Generating a Narrative Thesis
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Turning a Story into A Statement
For a narrative essay, your focus, or main idea, should illustrate the importance or significance of your related experience, whether personal or not. Ask yourself what the point of telling the story is. This is how you can start to pinpoint a thesis statement. Your narrative must have happened in the past, so how does writing about this intend to inform, persuade, or entertain your reader? How will you develop, people, and detail your narrative? What support will you show and how do you intend to order your story: chronologically, spatially, or emphatically?
Sample Thesis Statements From Narrative Essays
In fifth grade, I and my dignity took a tumble when I had a wardrobe malfunction in front of my entire class.
- This thesis statement would allow my essay to expand upon the event and how my reputation was affected. I could also explore my internal and external feelings after the embarrassment!
I had no blueprint for how to escape Damascus, but the fear I had for my children compelled me to figure it out as I went.
- This thesis statement shows that my essay will focus on the maneuvering the author experienced when escaping the Syrian war, which would be a harrowing—if not inspiring—narrative to read.
How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay
Amy sterling casil, 25 jun 2018.
Although narrative essays tell a story, the events of the story on their own aren't enough to compose a narrative essay. All narrative essays should have a point, a point that is often best communicated in a thesis sentence. The Santa Barbara City College Writing Center advises students to set the scene and provide a "hook" to get the reader's attention. Depending on the type of narrative you're sharing with the reader, the thesis sentence could offer a lesson learned, identify a theme or simply start the story with the first event.
Explore this article
- Scene Setting
- Lessons Learned
1 Scene Setting
Set the scene for readers by letting them know relevant details of the the who, what, where and and where of your essay. For example, if you are assigned to write a narrative about a physical challenge, an effective thesis sentence would look at your personal reason for sharing the essay's story. Looking at what is unique about the story you tell in your essay is crucial part of setting the scene. An opener might be, "My father teaching me how to swim the summer I turned 8 made me appreciate my dad's patience and willingness to spend time with me."
The best "hook" for readers is appropriate to the story you are sharing in your narrative essay. An honest "hook" is always effective as a thesis sentence. One way to start an essay is with a related quote that engages the reader or makes them laugh in some way. Relating to the father-son bicycle story, a potential quote hook could be the Desmond Tutu quote, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring."
Include the underlying essay theme in your thesis sentence. For example, if you are writing a narrative about a great one-day trip you took with friends, the thesis could be, "Spending time with close friends gives memories that can last forever, even if the trip is just one day." Condense the main idea(s) of your narrative into a few sentences that support your theme.
4 Lessons Learned
Many narrative essay assignments ask students to write the story of an experience where they learned a valuable lesson. The thesis sentence for these types of narratives should include the lesson or moral of the story. For example, a thesis for an essay about how you responded to peer pressure could be, "I learned that I shouldn't do whatever my friends wanted me to do the night I got caught driving without a license."
- 1 Purdue Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
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About the Author
Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.
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Essay Writing Guide
Thesis Statement Examples
Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023
The Art of Effective Writing: Thesis Statements Examples and Tips
By: Nova A.
13 min read
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: Mar 5, 2019
Are you tired of struggling with weak and ineffective thesis statements for your academic papers?
Frustrated by the lack of clarity and direction in your writing?
It's time for a change!
Thesis statements are a very important part of essay writing .
In this blog, we will guide you through the process of crafting impactful thesis statements.
Get ready to captivate your readers with strong thesis statements that make a lasting impression.
Let's dive in!
On this Page
What is a Thesis Statement?
A thesis statement is the backbone of your academic paper. It serves as a concise summary of the main argument or point you will be making in your writing.
Think of it as the roadmap that guides your readers through your essay, providing a clear direction and focus.
A solid thesis statement should be:
- Clear and Specific: It should clearly state the main idea and focus of your paper, leaving no room for ambiguity.
- Argu able: A good thesis statement presents a debatable claim or position that invites discussion and analysis.
- Supported by Evidence: Your thesis statement should be supported by relevant evidence and logical reasoning throughout your paper.
- Relevant to Your Topic: It should directly address the main topic or issue you are exploring in your essay.
- Concise and Well-Structured: A strong thesis statement is usually one or two sentences long, clearly expressing the main point without unnecessary details.
If you want a detailed guide about crafting a thesis statement, you can read our thesis statement writing blog!
Thesis Statement: Bad vs. Good
The quality of a thesis statement can make or break your essay.
Let's explore the difference between bad and good thesis statements to understand how to create strong arguments that captivate your readers.
- Bad Thesis Statement Example: "A lot of people use social media."
- Good Thesis Statement Example: "The pervasive use of social media has transformed interpersonal communication, leading to both positive and negative impacts on personal relationships and societal dynamics."
Here's a table comparing the characteristics of a bad thesis statement versus a good thesis statement:
How to Write a Thesis Statement Examples
Writing a strong thesis statement is crucial for academic writing. It establishes the purpose of your essay and gives your readers a clear direction to follow.
To help you become proficient in this skill, let's examine some examples.
How to Start a Thesis Statement Example
When starting a thesis statement, it's essential to identify the main topic or issue you will be discussing.
For example, if your essay focuses on the impact of social media on society, a strong starting thesis statement could be:
Introductory Paragraph with Thesis Statement Example
In the introductory paragraph, the thesis statement should be prominently featured to provide a clear preview of the main argument.
For instance, if you are writing an essay about the benefits of exercise, your introductory paragraph could begin with a compelling thesis statement like this:
Topic Sentence and Thesis Statement Example
The topic sentence sets the tone for the paragraph and connects it to the thesis statement.
Consider an essay exploring renewable energy sources. A topic sentence that aligns with the thesis statement could be:
Thesis Statement Example for Different Types of Essays
The thesis statement plays a crucial role in setting the tone and focus of your essay. Depending on the type of essay you are writing, the structure and content of your thesis statement may vary.
Let's explore some examples of thesis statements for different types of essays to understand how they differ in their approach and purpose:
In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should clearly present your position on a controversial topic. It should provide a preview of your main arguments.
In a persuasive essay , your thesis statement aims to convince the reader of your viewpoint or opinion on a particular issue.
In an expository essay , your thesis statement should provide an informative explanation or analysis of a topic.
In a comparative essay, your thesis statement highlights the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.
In an analytical essay , your thesis statement presents an analysis or interpretation of a literary work, artwork, or phenomenon.
In informative essays , the goal is to educate and inform your readers about a specific topic. It should be without expressing a personal opinion or taking a stance.
Thesis Statement for Informative Speech
An informative speech discussing the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems, highlighting environmental consequences and proposing sustainable solutions.
Thesis Statement for Literary Analysis
In this literary analysis essay , explore themes of perseverance and the struggle between man and nature.
Thesis Statement for Cause and Effect Essay
Examine the cause and effect of social media addiction among teenagers, in this cause-and-effect essay example.
Thesis Statement for Narrative Essay
In this narrative essay thesis statement example, discover valuable life lessons about perseverance, self-discovery, and the beauty of nature.
Example of Thesis Statement for Personal Essay
In personal essays, the thesis statement often reflects the central message or main idea that you want to convey about your personal experiences or reflections.
Good Thesis Statement Examples
A good thesis statement is the backbone of a well-structured and compelling essay. It presents a clear and concise argument or main point and sets the direction for your writing. Let's explore some examples of good thesis statements to understand what makes them effective:
High School Thesis Statement Example
Problem thesis statement example, thesis statement example about education, thesis statement example in research paper, thesis statement example about covid-19, tips for writing an effective thesis statement.
Crafting a strong thesis statement is essential for a well-structured and focused essay. Here are some tips to help you write an effective thesis statement in an essay:
- Be Clear and Specific: Clearly state your main argument or claim in a concise manner. Avoid vague or general statements that lack clarity.
- Make it Arguable: Your thesis statement should present a debatable position that invites discussion and analysis. Avoid stating obvious or indisputable facts.
- Tailor it to Your Essay: Your thesis statement should reflect the purpose and scope of your essay. Ensure that it directly addresses the main topic and focus of your writing.
- Provide a Roadmap: Your thesis statement should act as a roadmap for your readers, outlining the main points or arguments that will be discussed in your essay.
- Support with Evidence: Your thesis statement should be supported by relevant evidence, facts, or examples throughout your essay. Ensure that you can back up your claims.
- Revise and Refine: Don't be afraid to revise and refine your thesis statement as you develop your essay. It's normal for it to evolve and become more refined as your understanding of the topic deepens.
- Keep it Concise: Aim for a thesis statement that is clear, focused, and concise. Typically, it should be one or two sentences that capture the main point of your essay.
- Consider Counterarguments: Anticipate counterarguments and address them in your thesis statement. This demonstrates a thoughtful and nuanced understanding of the topic.
- Stay Relevant: Ensure that your thesis statement directly relates to the main topic and purpose of your essay. Avoid going off-topic or introducing unrelated ideas.
If you need more guidance, check out this descriptive video!
All in all, this blog has provided you with everything to get started with your thesis statement. However, if you still need any help, taking assistance from professional essay writers is a good option.
We, at 5StarEssays.com will help you with your ‘ write my essay ’ needs.
Feel free to contact us for placing your order today!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 3 parts of a thesis statement.
A thesis statement is made up of the following 3 parts.
- Your opinion
- And your reasons
No thesis statement is complete without these three parts and this is why it is important to add all three to your statement.
Can a thesis statement be a question?
No, a thesis statement could not be a question. A thesis statement should be debatable and inform the readers about the main points of the essay or paper. A question could not do it.
Can a thesis statement be 2 sentences long?
Yes, a thesis statement could be 2 lines or even longer. The length of the thesis statement depends on the length and depth of your work’s subject.
As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.
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25 Thesis Statement Examples
A thesis statement is needed in an essay or dissertation . There are multiple types of thesis statements – but generally we can divide them into expository and argumentative. An expository statement is a statement of fact (common in expository essays and process essays) while an argumentative statement is a statement of opinion (common in argumentative essays and dissertations). Below are examples of each.
Strong Thesis Statement Examples
1. School Uniforms
“Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.”
Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate
Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons
2. Nature vs Nurture
“This essay will explore how both genetic inheritance and environmental factors equally contribute to shaping human behavior and personality.”
Best For: Compare and Contrast Essay
Read More: Nature vs Nurture Debate
3. American Dream
“The American Dream, a symbol of opportunity and success, is increasingly elusive in today’s socio-economic landscape, revealing deeper inequalities in society.”
Best For: Persuasive Essay
Read More: What is the American Dream?
4. Social Media
“Social media has revolutionized communication and societal interactions, but it also presents significant challenges related to privacy, mental health, and misinformation.”
Best For: Expository Essay
Read More: The Pros and Cons of Social Media
“Globalization has created a world more interconnected than ever before, yet it also amplifies economic disparities and cultural homogenization.”
Read More: Globalization Pros and Cons
“Urbanization drives economic growth and social development, but it also poses unique challenges in sustainability and quality of life.”
Read More: Learn about Urbanization
“Immigration enriches receiving countries culturally and economically, outweighing any perceived social or economic burdens.”
Read More: Immigration Pros and Cons
8. Cultural Identity
“In a globalized world, maintaining distinct cultural identities is crucial for preserving cultural diversity and fostering global understanding, despite the challenges of assimilation and homogenization.”
Best For: Argumentative Essay
Read More: Learn about Cultural Identity
“Medical technologies in care institutions in Toronto has increased subjcetive outcomes for patients with chronic pain.”
Best For: Research Paper
10. Capitalism vs Socialism
“The debate between capitalism and socialism centers on balancing economic freedom and inequality, each presenting distinct approaches to resource distribution and social welfare.”
11. Cultural Heritage
“The preservation of cultural heritage is essential, not only for cultural identity but also for educating future generations, outweighing the arguments for modernization and commercialization.”
“Pseudoscience, characterized by a lack of empirical support, continues to influence public perception and decision-making, often at the expense of scientific credibility.”
Read More: Examples of Pseudoscience
13. Free Will
“The concept of free will is largely an illusion, with human behavior and decisions predominantly determined by biological and environmental factors.”
Read More: Do we have Free Will?
14. Gender Roles
“Traditional gender roles are outdated and harmful, restricting individual freedoms and perpetuating gender inequalities in modern society.”
Read More: What are Traditional Gender Roles?
15. Work-Life Ballance
“The trend to online and distance work in the 2020s led to improved subjective feelings of work-life balance but simultaneously increased self-reported loneliness.”
Read More: Work-Life Balance Examples
16. Universal Healthcare
“Universal healthcare is a fundamental human right and the most effective system for ensuring health equity and societal well-being, outweighing concerns about government involvement and costs.”
Read More: The Pros and Cons of Universal Healthcare
17. Minimum Wage
“The implementation of a fair minimum wage is vital for reducing economic inequality, yet it is often contentious due to its potential impact on businesses and employment rates.”
Read More: The Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage
“The homework provided throughout this semester has enabled me to achieve greater self-reflection, identify gaps in my knowledge, and reinforce those gaps through spaced repetition.”
Best For: Reflective Essay
Read More: Reasons Homework Should be Banned
19. Charter Schools
“Charter schools offer alternatives to traditional public education, promising innovation and choice but also raising questions about accountability and educational equity.”
Read More: The Pros and Cons of Charter Schools
20. Effects of the Internet
“The Internet has drastically reshaped human communication, access to information, and societal dynamics, generally with a net positive effect on society.”
Read More: The Pros and Cons of the Internet
21. Affirmative Action
“Affirmative action is essential for rectifying historical injustices and achieving true meritocracy in education and employment, contrary to claims of reverse discrimination.”
Best For: Essay
Read More: Affirmative Action Pros and Cons
22. Soft Skills
“Soft skills, such as communication and empathy, are increasingly recognized as essential for success in the modern workforce, and therefore should be a strong focus at school and university level.”
Read More: Soft Skills Examples
23. Moral Panic
“Moral panic, often fueled by media and cultural anxieties, can lead to exaggerated societal responses that sometimes overlook rational analysis and evidence.”
Read More: Moral Panic Examples
24. Freedom of the Press
“Freedom of the press is critical for democracy and informed citizenship, yet it faces challenges from censorship, media bias, and the proliferation of misinformation.”
Read More: Freedom of the Press Examples
25. Mass Media
“Mass media shapes public opinion and cultural norms, but its concentration of ownership and commercial interests raise concerns about bias and the quality of information.”
Best For: Critical Analysis
Read More: Mass Media Examples
Checklist: How to use your Thesis Statement
✅ Position: If your statement is for an argumentative or persuasive essay, or a dissertation, ensure it takes a clear stance on the topic. ✅ Specificity: It addresses a specific aspect of the topic, providing focus for the essay. ✅ Conciseness: Typically, a thesis statement is one to two sentences long. It should be concise, clear, and easily identifiable. ✅ Direction: The thesis statement guides the direction of the essay, providing a roadmap for the argument, narrative, or explanation. ✅ Evidence-based: While the thesis statement itself doesn’t include evidence, it sets up an argument that can be supported with evidence in the body of the essay. ✅ Placement: Generally, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introduction of an essay.
Try These AI Prompts – Thesis Statement Generator!
One way to brainstorm thesis statements is to get AI to brainstorm some for you! Try this AI prompt:
💡 AI PROMPT FOR EXPOSITORY THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTUCTIONS]. I want you to create an expository thesis statement that doesn’t argue a position, but demonstrates depth of knowledge about the topic.
💡 AI PROMPT FOR ARGUMENTATIVE THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTRUCTIONS]. I want you to create an argumentative thesis statement that clearly takes a position on this issue.
💡 AI PROMPT FOR COMPARE AND CONTRAST THESIS STATEMENT I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that remain objective.
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
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Dr. Mark Womack
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- Essay 1 — Literacy Narrative
Write a 300—500 word (1—2 page) autobiographical narrative that focuses on an experience you’ve had with reading, writing, or language.
Literacy Narrative A literacy narrative uses the elements of story (plot, character, setting, conflict) to recount a writer’s personal experience with language in all its forms–reading and writing, acquiring a second language, being an insider or outsider based on literacy level, and so on. Your narrative should focus on a single incident or event. You might explore a positive or negative experience you’ve had in learning to read or write and show how that experience changed the way you thought about the value and importance of literacy. Or you might present a breakthrough moment in your development as a literate person and explain how that moment created a new sense of yourself as a reader, writer, or learner.
The following questions may help you think of an event for your literacy narrative:
- What obstacles have you encountered (and perhaps overcome) in learning to read or write?
- What are your most vivid memories of reading or writing?
- What unexpected problems with learning to read or write have you encountered in school?
- What issues have arisen from: learning a second language? being bilingual? speaking a nonstandard dialect? having a speech or hearing impediment or a learning disability?
- What teachers or mentors have helped or hindered your development as a literate person?
Thesis Your paper must have a thesis. For your literacy narrative, your thesis will be an explicit statement of the insight your story provides about the significance of reading, writing, or language. The thesis will state what you learned from the experience or how it changed you.
Evidence To make the insight articulated in your thesis powerful and convincing, you must support it with concrete evidence. Your narrative will provide evidence from your own experience to support your thesis. The more vivid and compelling your story is, the stronger your evidence will be.
Structure The structure of a good college essay depends entirely on its Thesis Statement. A well-structured essay presents an explicit thesis early on that forecasts the essay’s structure. Every element of the essay helps support and develop that thesis. The Introduction engages the reader’s interest in the issue the thesis raises. Each paragraph in the Body of the essay develops and supports a single point that helps confirm the thesis. (Body paragraphs should always begin with a one-sentence statement of the paragraph’s main point: a Topic Sentence.) The Conclusion restates the essay’s thesis and summarizes its argument. In a well-structured essay, a reader could read just your thesis and your topic sentences and have a perfectly comprehensible outline of your essay.
Style Make your prose as clear and concise as possible. Don’t waste your time (and mine) trying to sound impressive. Write, instead, in a conversational voice: the clear, plainspoken, engaging voice of a person talking about a subject they find interesting. Don’t let your essay run longer than what you have to say. Make every word count. One sentence that has something to say is better than a paragraph that doesn’t.
Audience Think of the audience for your essay as an individual, not a vaguely defined group of people. Imagine a single reader just as intelligent and well-informed as yourself. Your essay should hold that reader’s interest and provide them a new insight into the importance of reading, writing, or language.
Drafts You will develop your essay through pre-writing exercises and multiple drafts. You will submit a Mind Map for your essay on January 22 . You will turn in an Informal Outline on January 27 . Your outline will help you write a First Draft. Your First Draft will suck big-time (all first drafts do), but its awfulness will show you what you need to work on to make subsequent drafts better. On January 31 , your fellow students will assist you in a Peer Review workshop by pointing out just where your draft needs improvement. You will submit your Final Revision on February 14 .
Proofreading Before you submit the Final Revision, proofread your essay carefully and thoroughly, correcting any errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and MLA formatting. Slapdash spelling, sloppy punctuation, semiliterate grammar, or slipshod MLA formatting seriously undermines your credibility as a writer–your ethos, in rhetorical terms. Therefore, essays with excessive errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, or MLA formatting will receive no higher than a D. If you need to know how to spell a word, look it up in a dictionary. Do not trust a computer to proof your spelling. Spell-checkers tell you whether you’ve spelled a word correctly, but they can’t tell whether you’ve used the correct word. (For example: “They proofread there essays carefully” contains a misspelling.) If you have questions about grammar, punctuation, or MLA format, consult A Writer’s Reference or ask your instructor.
Evaluation In evaluating your essay, I will consider each of the following: your essay’s thesis, its structure, its use of evidence, and its prose style. (See the “Grading Criteria for Major Essays” on the Syllabus.)
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Narrative Essay Examples
10+ Interesting Narrative Essay Examples Plus Writing Tips!
Published on: Jun 23, 2018
Last updated on: Nov 29, 2023
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Many students struggle with crafting engaging and impactful narrative essays. They often find it challenging to weave their personal experiences into coherent and compelling stories.
If you’re having a hard time, don't worry!
We’ve compiled a range of narrative essay examples that will serve as helpful tools for you to get started. These examples will provide a clear path for crafting engaging and powerful narrative essays.
So, keep reading and find our expertly written examples!
On This Page On This Page -->
Narrative Essay Definition
Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings.
In a narrative essay, life experiences take center stage, serving as the main substance of the story. It's a powerful tool for writers to convey a personal journey, turning experiences into a captivating tale. This form of storytelling is an artful display of emotions intended to engage readers, leaving the reader feeling like they are a part of the story.
By focusing on a specific theme, event, emotions, and reflections, a narrative essay weaves a storyline that leads the reader through the author's experiences.
The Essentials of Narrative Essays
Let's start with the basics. The four types of essays are argumentative essays , descriptive essays , expository essays , and narrative essays.
The goal of a narrative essay is to tell a compelling tale from one person's perspective. A narrative essay uses all components you’d find in a typical story, such as a beginning, middle, and conclusion, as well as plot, characters, setting, and climax.
The narrative essay's goal is the plot, which should be detailed enough to reach a climax. Here's how it works:
- It's usually presented in chronological order.
- It has a function. This is typically evident in the thesis statement's opening paragraph.
- It may include speech.
- It's told with sensory details and vivid language, drawing the reader in. All of these elements are connected to the writer's major argument in some way.
Before writing your essay, make sure you go through a sufficient number of narrative essay examples. These examples will help you in knowing the dos and don’ts of a good narrative essay.
It is always a better option to have some sense of direction before you start anything. Below, you can find important details and a bunch of narrative essay examples. These examples will also help you build your content according to the format.
Here is a how to start a narrative essay example:
Sample Narrative Essay
The examples inform the readers about the writing style and structure of the narration. The essay below will help you understand how to create a story and build this type of essay in no time.
Here is another narrative essay examples 500 words:
Narrative Essay Examples for Students
Narrative essays offer students a platform to express their experiences and creativity. These examples show how to effectively structure and present personal stories for education.
Here are some helpful narrative essay examples:
Narrative Essay Examples Middle School
Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 7
Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 8
Grade 11 Narrative Essay Examples
Narrative Essay Example For High School
Narrative Essay Example For College
Personal Narrative Essay Example
Descriptive Narrative Essay Example
3rd Person Narrative Essay Example
Narrative Essay Topics
Here are some narrative essay topics to help you get started with your narrative essay writing.
- When I got my first bunny
- When I moved to Canada
- I haven’t experienced this freezing temperature ever before
- The moment I won the basketball finale
- A memorable day at the museum
- How I talk to my parrot
- The day I saw the death
- When I finally rebelled against my professor
Need more topics? Check out these extensive narrative essay topics to get creative ideas!
Narrative Essay Writing Tips
Narrative essays give you the freedom to be creative, but it can be tough to make yours special. Use these tips to make your story interesting:
- Share your story from a personal viewpoint, engaging the reader with your experiences.
- Use vivid descriptions to paint a clear picture of the setting, characters, and emotions involved.
- Organize events in chronological order for a smooth and understandable narrative.
- Bring characters to life through their actions, dialogue, and personalities.
- Employ dialogue sparingly to add realism and progression to the narrative.
- Engage readers by evoking emotions through your storytelling.
- End with reflection or a lesson learned from the experience, providing insight.
Now you have essay examples and tips to help you get started, you have a solid starting point for crafting compelling narrative essays.
However, if storytelling isn't your forte, you can always turn to our essay writing service for help.
Our writers are specialists that can tackle any type of essay with great skill. With their experience, you get a top-quality, 100% plagiarism free essay everytime.
So, let our narrative essay writing service make sure your narrative essay stands out. Order now!
Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)
Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.
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25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze
Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research paper or argumentative essay. The thesis statement is where you make a claim that will guide you through your entire paper. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your paper or your topic, then it's likely due to a weak thesis statement.
Let's take a minute to first understand what makes a solid thesis statement, and what key components you need to write one of your own.
A thesis statement always goes at the beginning of the paper. It will typically be in the first couple of paragraphs of the paper so that it can introduce the body paragraphs, which are the supporting evidence for your thesis statement.
Your thesis statement should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute . An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic.
Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's cuteness is derived from its floppy ears, small body, and playfulness." These are three things that can be debated on. Some people might think that the cutest thing about puppies is the fact that they follow you around or that they're really soft and fuzzy.
All cuteness aside, you want to make sure that your thesis statement is not only debatable, but that it also actually thoroughly answers the research question that was posed. You always want to make sure that your evidence is supporting a claim that you made (and not the other way around). This is why it's crucial to read and research about a topic first and come to a conclusion later. If you try to get your research to fit your thesis statement, then it may not work out as neatly as you think. As you learn more, you discover more (and the outcome may not be what you originally thought).
Additionally, your thesis statement shouldn't be too big or too grand. It'll be hard to cover everything in a thesis statement like, "The federal government should act now on climate change." The topic is just too large to actually say something new and meaningful. Instead, a more effective thesis statement might be, "Local governments can combat climate change by providing citizens with larger recycling bins and offering local classes about composting and conservation." This is easier to work with because it's a smaller idea, but you can also discuss the overall topic that you might be interested in, which is climate change.
So, now that we know what makes a good, solid thesis statement, you can start to write your own. If you find that you're getting stuck or you are the type of person who needs to look at examples before you start something, then check out our list of thesis statement examples below.
Thesis statement examples
A quick note that these thesis statements have not been fully researched. These are merely examples to show you what a thesis statement might look like and how you can implement your own ideas into one that you think of independently. As such, you should not use these thesis statements for your own research paper purposes. They are meant to be used as examples only.
- Vaccinations Because many children are unable to vaccinate due to illness, we must require that all healthy and able children be vaccinated in order to have herd immunity.
- Educational Resources for Low-Income Students Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students during the summers so that they don't forget what they've learned throughout the school year.
- School Uniforms School uniforms may be an upfront cost for families, but they eradicate the visual differences in income between students and provide a more egalitarian atmosphere at school.
- Populism The rise in populism on the 2016 political stage was in reaction to increasing globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, and the Syrian refugee crisis.
- Public Libraries Libraries are essential resources for communities and should be funded more heavily by local municipalities.
- Cyber Bullying With more and more teens using smartphones and social media, cyber bullying is on the rise. Cyber bullying puts a lot of stress on many teens, and can cause depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Parents should limit the usage of smart phones, monitor their children's online activity, and report any cyber bullying to school officials in order to combat this problem.
- Medical Marijuana for Veterans Studies have shown that the use of medicinal marijuana has been helpful to veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Medicinal marijuana prescriptions should be legal in all states and provided to these veterans. Additional medical or therapy services should also be researched and implemented in order to help them re-integrate back into civilian life.
- Work-Life Balance Corporations should provide more work from home opportunities and six-hour workdays so that office workers have a better work-life balance and are more likely to be productive when they are in the office.
- Teaching Youths about Consensual Sex Although sex education that includes a discussion of consensual sex would likely lead to less sexual assault, parents need to teach their children the meaning of consent from a young age with age appropriate lessons.
- Whether or Not to Attend University A degree from a university provides invaluable lessons on life and a future career, but not every high school student should be encouraged to attend a university directly after graduation. Some students may benefit from a trade school or a "gap year" where they can think more intensely about what it is they want to do for a career and how they can accomplish this.
- Studying Abroad Studying abroad is one of the most culturally valuable experiences you can have in college. It is the only way to get completely immersed in another language and learn how other cultures and countries are different from your own.
- Women's Body Image Magazines have done a lot in the last five years to include a more diverse group of models, but there is still a long way to go to promote a healthy woman's body image collectively as a culture.
- Cigarette Tax Heavily taxing and increasing the price of cigarettes is essentially a tax on the poorest Americans, and it doesn't deter them from purchasing. Instead, the state and federal governments should target those economically disenfranchised with early education about the dangers of smoking.
- Veganism A vegan diet, while a healthy and ethical way to consume food, indicates a position of privilege. It also limits you to other cultural food experiences if you travel around the world.
- University Athletes Should be Compensated University athletes should be compensated for their service to the university, as it is difficult for these students to procure and hold a job with busy academic and athletic schedules. Many student athletes on scholarship also come from low-income neighborhoods and it is a struggle to make ends meet when they are participating in athletics.
- Women in the Workforce Sheryl Sandberg makes a lot of interesting points in her best-selling book, Lean In , but she only addressed the very privileged working woman and failed to speak to those in lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs.
- Assisted Suicide Assisted suicide should be legal and doctors should have the ability to make sure their patients have the end-of-life care that they want to receive.
- Celebrity and Political Activism Although Taylor Swift's lyrics are indicative of a feminist perspective, she should be more politically active and vocal to use her position of power for the betterment of society.
- The Civil War The insistence from many Southerners that the South seceded from the Union for states' rights versus the fact that they seceded for the purposes of continuing slavery is a harmful myth that still affects race relations today.
- Blue Collar Workers Coal miners and other blue-collar workers whose jobs are slowly disappearing from the workforce should be re-trained in jobs in the technology sector or in renewable energy. A program to re-train these workers would not only improve local economies where jobs have been displaced, but would also lead to lower unemployment nationally.
- Diversity in the Workforce Having a diverse group of people in an office setting leads to richer ideas, more cooperation, and more empathy between people with different skin colors or backgrounds.
- Re-Imagining the Nuclear Family The nuclear family was traditionally defined as one mother, one father, and 2.5 children. This outdated depiction of family life doesn't quite fit with modern society. The definition of normal family life shouldn't be limited to two-parent households.
- Digital Literacy Skills With more information readily available than ever before, it's crucial that students are prepared to examine the material they're reading and determine whether or not it's a good source or if it has misleading information. Teaching students digital literacy and helping them to understand the difference between opinion or propaganda from legitimate, real information is integral.
- Beauty Pageants Beauty pageants are presented with the angle that they empower women. However, putting women in a swimsuit on a stage while simultaneously judging them on how well they answer an impossible question in a short period of time is cruel and purely for the amusement of men. Therefore, we should stop televising beauty pageants.
- Supporting More Women to Run for a Political Position In order to get more women into political positions, more women must run for office. There must be a grassroots effort to educate women on how to run for office, who among them should run, and support for a future candidate for getting started on a political career.
Still stuck? Need some help with your thesis statement?
If you are still uncertain about how to write a thesis statement or what a good thesis statement is, be sure to consult with your teacher or professor to make sure you're on the right track. It's always a good idea to check in and make sure that your thesis statement is making a solid argument and that it can be supported by your research.
After you're done writing, it's important to have someone take a second look at your paper so that you can ensure there are no mistakes or errors. It's difficult to spot your own mistakes, which is why it's always recommended to have someone help you with the revision process, whether that's a teacher, the writing center at school, or a professional editor such as one from ServiceScape .
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Narrative Essay Thesis Statements: Tips and Examples
A narrative essay, put simply, is an essay that tells a story. Narrative essays are usually both creative and personal, which makes it difficult to know where to start and how to incorporate the traditional elements of essays that we might be more familiar with.
When we think of essays in general, one important component is the thesis statement, which tells us the main idea or argument of an overall work. In a narrative essay, however, a thesis does not follow the same rules it does in other types of writing. A narrative essay thesis statement can do one or both of the following: (1) convey a theme, lesson, or main idea, or (2) introduce the action of the story you want to tell.
How you write your thesis will depend on the purpose of your essay, any instructions or prompt you may have received, and what flows with your writing style. In most cases, when writing a narrative essay, you will be focusing on a single event or experience that was important to you. If your goal is to convey a lesson, theme, or moral from that experience, you might think about the following questions:
- Why am I telling this story?
- What happened or changed in my life as a result of this event?
- What did I learn from this experience?
- What is the most important idea/lesson that I want my reader to take away after reading my essay?
- What point am I making with this, in general?
Once you have an idea of what you want to say, all that is left is to turn that thought into a thesis. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of narrative essay thesis statements to see how that works:
- Over the few months I spent with those mice, I learned that unexpected instructors can often have the most to teach us.
- That single failing grade was enough to shift my perspective on personal responsibility.
- Overcoming grief is a slow process that never truly ends, but confiding in the people in our lives can make it less painful.
These statements tell us a main idea, lesson, or theme from their respective narrative. Still, it can be hard to understand how these sentences would fit into an essay when looking at them in isolation. Here are two examples from well-known narrative essays so you can see what thesis statements look like in actual paragraphs:
“I was less playing a particular kind of animal than enacting a form of wildness that I recognized in myself.” – From “The Wild, Sublime Body” by Melissa Febos, published in The Yale Review. The full essay can be accessed here.
“Beyond those things our culture might specialize in money, and celebrity, and natural beauty. These are not universal. You enjoy work and will love your grandchildren, and somewhere in there you die.” – From “This is the Life” by Annie Dillard, originally published in Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religio n. The full essay can be accessed here.
Both of these excerpts convey the main idea of their respective essay. They are not extremely direct, but they give us a hint at what we should be taking away from these essays nonetheless.
But what about thesis statements that simply introduce the action of a story, or do that while telling us a theme or main idea? These can also be a great, flexible option for your writing. Here is another contextual example:
“I foresaw no particular problems or difficulties. I was as strong as a bull, in the prime, the pride, the high noon of life. I looked forward to the walk with assurance and pleasure.” – From “The Bull on the Mountain” by Oliver Sacks, published in The New York Review. The full essay can be accessed here.
Not only do these sentences introduce the story’s action (the narrator will soon begin to walk), but they also hint at an underlying message. We know immediately that the narrator’s assuredness and pride will likely come before a fall, even though it is not stated.
Drafting a thesis statement is difficult, especially for a creative medium like a narrative essay. Remember that writing is a process of revision; you can always return to your “thesis” after you’ve written some or all of your essay. This may help you eliminate any awkwardness in how your thesis flows with the rest of your writing. You can also test for awkward or too-direct phrasing by reading the surrounding sentences out loud and making sure they sound natural in your voice.
Keep in mind that the examples here are not exhaustive; there are infinite ways to tell a compelling story, and it is up to you to find what works for your goals. Continuing to seek out and read other narrative essays can help you understand what makes them tick and how you can achieve similar things in your writing.
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