You need a good thesis statement for your essay but are having trouble getting started. You may have heard that your thesis needs to be specific and arguable, but still wonder what this really means.
Let’s look at some examples. Imagine you’re writing about John Hughes’s film Sixteen Candles (1984).
You take a first pass at writing a thesis:
Sixteen Candles is a romantic comedy about high school cliques.
Is this a strong thesis statement? Not yet, but it’s a good start. You’ve focused on a topic--high school cliques--which is a smart move because you’ve settled on one of many possible angles. But the claim is weak because it’s not yet arguable. Intelligent people would generally agree with this statement—so there’s no real “news” for your reader. You want your thesis to say something surprising and debatable. If your thesis doesn’t go beyond summarizing your source, it’s not arguable.
The key words in the thesis statement are “romantic comedy” and “high school cliques.” One way to sharpen the claim is to start asking questions.
For example, how does the film represent high school cliques in a surprising or complex way? How does the film reinforce stereotypes about high school groups and how does it undermine them? Or why does the film challenge our expectations about romantic comedies by focusing on high school cliques? If you can answer one of those questions (or others of your own), you’ll have a strong thesis.
Tip : Asking “how” or “why” questions will help you refine your thesis, making it more arguable and interesting to your readers.
Take 2. You revise the thesis. Is it strong now?
Sixteen Candles is a romantic comedy criticizing the divisiveness created by high school cliques.
You’re getting closer. You’re starting to take a stance by arguing that the film identifies “divisiveness” as a problem and criticizes it, but your readers will want to know how this plays out and why it’s important. Right now, the thesis still sounds bland – not risky enough to be genuinely contentious.
Tip: Keep raising questions that test your ideas. And ask yourself the “so what” question. Why is your thesis interesting or important?
Take 3. Let’s try again. How about this version?
Although the film Sixteen Candles appears to reinforce stereotypes about high school cliques, it undermines them in important ways, questioning its viewers’ assumptions about what’s normal.
Bingo! This thesis statement is pretty strong. It challenges an obvious interpretation of the movie (that it just reinforces stereotypes), offering a new and more complex reading in its place. We also have a sense of why this argument is important. The film’s larger goal, we learn, is to question what we think we understand about normalcy.
What’s a Strong Thesis?
As we’ve just seen, a strong thesis statement crystallizes your paper's argument and, most importantly, argues a debatable point.
This means two things. It goes beyond merely summarizing or describing to stake out an interpretation or position that’s not obvious, and others could challenge for good reasons. It’s also arguable in the literal sense that it can be argued, or supported through a thoughtful analysis of your sources. If your argument lacks evidence, readers will think your thesis statement is an opinion or belief as opposed to an argument.
Exercises for Drafting an Arguable Thesis
A good thesis will be focused
Writing a Quality Book & Movie Review
Despite the fact that writing a review can seem quite a simple assignment, students often wonder how to write a movie review to make it stand out from the rest. It can be quite a challenging task, considering how many elements should be included to your review and what main ideas you should convey to the reader.
The main aim of such an assignment is to improve your critical thinking, concentrating on the important parts and leaving aside features, which have no importance. Every student needs to distinguish the key points of the book or movie and back them with examples. When paying attention to every part of the text or movie, you get a chance to find meaning in things, which seemed not important. In such a way, you learn how to concentrate your attention and distinguish one idea from another.
Here are some advices, which may greatly help you in writing a movie review:
- Grab attention of the audience with a catchy line. Start your introduction or abstract with a clear sentence, which conveys your impression: is the work good/ outstanding/ weak?
- Make sure the readers know your opinion. Don’t puzzle them whether you like the movie/book or not: state your mind and then use facts to support your point of view;
- Don’t concentrate on the plot only. Most of the students concentrate on the plot, forgetting about other details, like acting, music and much more. Try to pay attention to every aspect of the subject you are discussing;
- Shape a proper ending. The main goal of any review is to give the reader an idea of whether a particular book/movie is worth reading/watching. Make sure you add such information to the final paragraph.
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If you want to learn how to write a book review or analyze any other piece of art, you need to avoid common mistakes, which may greatly influence the outcome. They may include absence of focus on the movie/book itself, too much personal opinion, absence of relevant and credible sources, forgetting about a proper structure and so on. Make sure you go through your reviews over and over again before creating a final draft to eliminate all possible mistakes and flaws.
Example of a Book & Movie Review
There are many ways of making the process of writing a review simpler and most of the students are well aware of them. The most popular way is to download a movie review example and follow its structure to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Such templates and examples can be of a great help, as they not only give an idea of how a proper book or movie review should look like but what elements should be included to the text. Make sure you find a credible book review example, which has a clear structure and an appropriate formatting style. In such a way, you will save lots of time and will be able to avoid the most common mistakes.
Book Review Example
Book Review Format
Movie Review Example
Movie Review Template
Sample Book Review
Sample Movie Review for Students
College Book/movie Review Format
Although writing a book or a movie review is a common assignment, every professor has personal demands and requirements, which may greatly change the structure and the style of your task. Make sure you note down all of the guidelines to avoid possible mistakes. However, there are some common elements, which every movie or book review format should include:
- Indication of the title. Many students forget about indicating the title in their introduction, thinking that mentioning it in the headline is enough;
- Summary. Always write the review as if the reader has never read the book or watched the movie before. In such a way, you will be able to avoid mentioning the key events. You need to back your opinion with examples and facts. Your main goal is to analyze the plot and not just to share your likes/dislikes;
- Relevance of the topic. Analyze the book/movie, based on its significance to the audience. If it is a task for a history class, indicate whether it is accurate historically;
- Picture the author. It is very important to give the reader brief information on the writer or a filmmaker, his beliefs and background;
- Additional elements, which are usually not taken into account. For example, music, costumes, stylistic elements and so on. Your professor will definitely mark out such a thorough and deep analysis;
- Revise your work. Before delivering the assignment to your professor, make sure you have eliminated all the mistakes. Always double-check spelling of names and terms, always reread your work from the point of your professor and make sure the assignment is not overcrowded with quotes.
At the end, you need to provide your own evaluation, concentrating on several features. For example, was the book appealing? Did the movie give a full image of the era? Stating your personal opinion, backed with facts and evidence, is always a great way of closing a quality review.