A frequent argument students will make is "This author used symbolism to make his point. Thus, to attempt to single out or make a distinction of a piece for using "symbolism" is to not say anything that even needs proving to begin with. A simple thesis statement is not quite what it may sound like. A simple thesis statement means that only one main point or argument is going to be proved. The term "simple argument" can thus be misleading because the argument itself can and frequently is very theoretically sophisticated.
What makes them simple is that in terms of their logical structure, they only take on one line of proof, and hence, their organization of proof will be simple.
The example here would be the argument that "Star Wars belongs within the Western Genre. Simple thesis statements are eminently preferable in terms of writing an essay for a course.
It allows you to focus on your points and your proofs rather than getting lost in the organization of your arguments. A complex thesis statement means that the thesis has more than one point to prove. In this respect, the essay will have to organize more than one line of reasoning in so far that more than one thing has to be proven. Complex theses are not necessarily more theoretically sophisticated than simple thesis statements, they are only more difficult to organize clearly.
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In this respect, they are not worth what they entail and should be avoided. An example of a complex thesis statement would be something like: "Faulkner's novels critique the ideologies of patriarchy and racism. This would be an appropriate analysis for the work of Faulkner, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. To begin with, it is not clear what the writer has to gain in terms of proving BOTH of these aspects of the work rather than just the one.
Instead, with this complex thesis, there are going to be long sections of the essay where half of what needs to be proved will be left suspended while the other half gets discussed. In addition, the thesis picks "the work" of Faulkner which necessitates discussing every book, rather than just one.
Rhetoric and Composition/Teacher's Handbook/Evaluation
Thus it is that an important convention of the academic essay is that: A complex thesis statement can usually be restructured into a more theoretically sophisticated if not interesting simple thesis statement. The impossible thesis statement is a kind of corollary of the banal thesis statement insofar as you want to stay away from it.
Rather than saying something which is evident or meaningless, however, the impossible thesis statement puts forward something which cannot reasonably be proved, as a result of there being no agreed upon or stable criteria from which to render conclusions. Examples of impossible statements abound, but the one most related to this course would be " The Plague is great art," or " The Plague is the most realistic of all Camus' novels. Take the first one. What distinguishes between "good" art and "great" art?
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Furthermore, the essay would not be able to point to a stable definition of "art", a concept that art historians, artists, and cultural critics have been arguing over for centuries. The latter thesis has a similar problem since "realistic" is not a stable concept with firm criteria. Making an Argument As stated earlier, the academic essay is an exercise in reasoned persuasion. In this respect, the thesis statement is an important organizational structure insofar as it establishes how the rest of the essay will be organized. Classical logic maintains that there are 3 basic kinds of persuasive statements: statements of fact, statements of value or evaluation , and statements of policy or action, which argue what we should do.
Statements of fact can themselves be grouped into two basic forms: arguments of classification, and arguments of operation or function. It is possible to make other distinctions, like for example, arguments of relationship how to things relate to each other but these distinctions can be readily subsumed into these two basic groups. Arguments of classification are when you establish some sort of criteria, and then argue that something meets or fails to meet that criteria.
Establishing Criteria Evaluation Essay
The earlier example that "Star Wars belongs within the Western Genre" is an example of an argument of classification. Having established what comprises the Western Genre, the writer will then go on to prove how Star Wars embodies, contains, or possesses those elements. The writer will, in other words, prove that Star Wars meets that criteria. Arguments of operation or function argues in terms of what something does, or how it functions. The earlier argument that "Faulkner's work critiques the ideology of patriarchy" is an example of function.
Note that unlike the argument of classification, the writer of this essay SEEMS to have to do more to prove their thesis.
The question of HOW leads to a discussion of the body of the essay. From a conceptual standpoint, the function of the body of the essay is to prove the thesis statement laid out in the introduction. Easy enough. This section discusses how the writer accomplishes that proof. Establishing Criteria In the discussion of types of argument, I made the point that the writer will have to establish criteria that can be used to prove their argument. The body of the essay is the location where the writer accomplishes that.
This is a fairly common mistake that beginning essay writers make. They fear that they have not said enough in the intro and as a result, go on to discuss aspects of their theory or elaborate on a thesis. The problem with doing so is that it screws up your organization. What comes next is no longer clear to the reader. If you keep it clear to yourself that the purpose of the introduction to your essay is to only INTRODUCE your theoretical framework, and your thesis statement, then the function of the body of your essay will also become evident to the reader.
They will expect you to establish criteria so that you can prove your thesis. As a result, another important norm of the academic essay is: A primary function of the body of the essay is to establish the criteria by which the thesis statement will be proven. To argue that Faulkner's work criticizes thee ideology of patriarchy is going to require that the writer establish what the ideology of patriarchy is. Meeting Criteria Establishing the criteria by which the thesis statement will be proven leads to the next logical step: demonstrating how the object under investigation meets those criteria.
Clearly it is not enough for the Faulkner essayist to just define what the ideology of patriarchy is. Their thesis is that Faulkner's work criticizes that ideology. This process of relating the object of investigation back to the established criteria is another fundamental component of the body of the essay. Without it, the proof is not complete. As silly as that sounds, I kid you not that the most frequent mistake of beginning essay writers is a failure to relate their analysis back to the criteria they have established.
Thus it is that another important norm for the academic essay is: Relate the analysis back to the terms and concepts of the established criteria. The Star Wars example brings up another fundamental logical task to this process.
Writing an evaluation essay
From the beginning you have probably thought the Star Wars thesis to not be very feasible. The film is not set in the West, and it occurs in the future. If you can, make notes directly on your work itself so that you remember what you want to write about in your essay. If you are evaluating anything else, use your head. You need to try, use, or test whatever thing you are evaluating. You also need the know-how of driving a car of that power and a base of knowledge of other cars that you have tested to make a fair comparison. On the note of comparisons, only compare things that are reasonably alike.
People don't care to know how an apple compares to a backpack; that is for a different type of essay. Compare different types of apples to each other and different types of backpacks against each other. That is what people are looking for when reading comparisons in an evaluation essay.
Whatever you are evaluating, make sure to do so thoroughly. Take plenty of notes during the testing phase so that your thoughts stay fresh in your mind. You do not want to forget about a part of the subject that you did not test. In the introduction of your evaluative essay, you should clearly state the following: - what you are evaluating the subject -- like a Toyota Prius - the purpose of your evaluation - what criteria you are evaluating your subject on mileage, price, performance, etc. For example, you should not just write that you are judging the taste of an apple.
You should explain that you are judging the sweetness, bitterness, and crispness of the apple. Unlike some types of essays, the introduction is not the most important part of an evaluative essay. Most readers already want to read about the subject that you are writing on, so you don't need to draw them in with a fancy intro.
Your audience just wants the information! Be sure to be very descriptive and thorough when evaluating your subject. The more you leave out of the essay, the more unanswered questions your readers are left with. Your goal should be to cover all aspects of the subject and to tell the audience how good or bad it is. Consider, for example, not only what quality the subject possesses, but what is missing. Good evaluations measure the quality or value of a subject by considering what it has and what it lacks.