Sample thesis statement for compare/contrast paper: While both Facebook and MySpace allow you to meet other users who have similar interests, only MySpace allows you to demonstrate your personal style.
If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities. For example:
Sample thesis statement for contrast paper: In terms of social networking sites, Facebook focuses on presenting your daily life to others, whereas MySpace allows you to focus more on demonstrating your personal style.
I still love thesis statements – after all, they saved me from many long hours staring bleary-eyed at the computer screen. And I do think a writer should be able to articulate verbally the thesis of any personal essay he or she considers nearly complete. My daughter is now eleven, and it’s been years since I stepped into a sandbox. 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.
A question, for instance, can work well as a thesis statement in a personal essay, often arising naturally out of a detailed narrative opening. It seems to me that while a thesis statement posed as a question can often have a scholarly effect, it also gives the reader the sense that she is sitting right next to the writer, privy to the workings of the writer’s mind.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the column would help me to get accepted into a graduate writing program. Armed with an MFA, I began a new career teaching writing at a local university. Now I wax endlessly about the importance of thesis statements, which is the formal name for the sentence whose utility I discovered more than ten years ago. I show my students how other writers use thesis statements in their essays, and that the sentences can be eloquent.
In a personal essay, the thesis statement summarizes the point. This can be helpful in the editing stage: before you add or delete, I remind my students, ask if your details – the sound of the pounding bass or the way the sunlight dapples through the trees – support the thesis statement. And when crafting a conclusion, something students often tell me they find challenging, I remind them to consider the ending in the context of their thesis statement. 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. A good ending lands the reader where the thesis statement promised to go.
And yet. My intractable rule – always have a thesis statement that spells out your point for the reader – immobilized me for longer than I care to admit as I struggled to write a personal essay about friends from college who married the wrong men, and how I nearly made the same monolithic mistake. The college bordered on idyllic, with small, intimate classes, sweeping vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains – even warm doughnuts at breakfast. But it was also all-women, and perched high off an isolated stretch of highway. To be around men, you had to travel over winding, treacherous roads. Often there were accidents, I wrote, and sometimes they were fatal.