Good Narrative Thesis Statement

I show my students how other writers use thesis statements in their essays, and that the sentences can be eloquent.Here’s one from Joan Didion’s essay “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream”: “This is a story about love and death in the golden land, and begins with the country.” Another good one – although it is technically two sentences – is found in Lars Eighner’s essay “On Dumpster Diving.” It reads: “I have learned much as a scavenger.

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Endings, after all, need to stay true to the central ideas.

Didion’s essay, “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” closes with the image of a bride, a mention of the deceased, and a reference to “the golden land where every day the world is born anew,” all subjects that her thesis statement promised.

— Cynthia Pike Gaylord left a career on Wall Street to pursue a lifelong dream of writing.

She received her MFA at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she now teaches.

Had I come right out and said, “Some of my college friends decided their own dreams weren’t all that important and instead married men from wealthy southern families, as if they’d checked off all the boxes on a punch list, which turned out to be a big mistake,” what would entice the reader to continue?

Creative Writing Worksheets For Grade 2 - Good Narrative Thesis Statement

But by crafting a thesis statement as metaphor, the writer defers to the reader’s intelligence; it allows the reader to experience her own moment of recognition.

Sometimes I turn on the television and see people who look as if they take themselves very, very seriously with the words “Wall Street” flashing across the screen; today I don’t think I could draw any relationship between the two.

Personal essays convey to others what strikes our hearts, and my heart has attached itself to other stories, with other thesis statements.

I’m also convinced that metaphor lights up a deep section in our brain that responds to writing that weaves images together with ideas. The point is I began to understand that a thesis statement doesn’t need to serve as a billboard for the reader.

A question, for instance, can work well as a thesis statement in a personal essay, often arising naturally out of a detailed narrative opening.


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