Introducing and arranging a thesis - 1733

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Introducing and arranging a thesis - 1733

  1. 1. Introducing and arranging a thesis<br />
  2. 2. MY THESIS<br /> <br />A traveler looking north up Curtis Street from the corner of Curtis and 23rd, in the Five Points neighborhood in Denver, CO, will find a perfect illustration of Lewis Mumford’s observation that “the city creates the theater and is the theater. . . . [that it is] where man’s more purposive activities are focused, and work out, through conflicting and cooperating personalities, events, groups, into more significant culminations” (Mumford 185). For on the 2300 block of Curtis Street we find vividly dramatized one of the social, economic, and political conflicts defining the character of present-day Denver and, indeed, cities across the US. On the west side of the street is the Saint Francis Center, an unassuming cinderblock building that for some twenty-five years has served a daytime homeless shelters. On the east side of the street, however, stand fifteen brand new condominiums. Large, colorful, and trendily styled, these condos sell, without a doubt, at the high-end of the market. However, although they have been on the market for several years, these condominiums remain unoccupied. Homeless people and people-less homes face each other from opposite sides of the same street: this is the paradox staged daily on Curtis Street. <br />At the heart of that drama is what might be called the exigence of urban poverty. The Saint Francis Center aims to alleviate urban poverty through what faith communities call corporal works of mercy, i.e., by providing food, clothing, and shelter. The condominium development, by contrast, aims to address poverty through real estate development, i.e., by attracting capital, hence jobs. These two agendas are typically in conflict, and on Curtis Street we see that conflict embodied: Denver the fast-growing, ultramodern, upscale urban workspace and playground confronts Denver the economically precarious, socially stratified casualty of the global financial meltdown. How one interprets that drama depends, in large measure, on which side of the street one stands on – both metaphorically and literally.<br />
  3. 3. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br />If the prompt asks you to address the question “What Denver? Whose Denver?” by performing a rhetorical analysis of an urban object or space, and the writer’s thesis is something like “A rhetorical analysis of the 2300 block of Curtis Street will show how it defines Denver and who’s included and excluded from that definition,” then s/he’s not actually responding to the question; s/he’s merely restating it.<br /> <br />
  4. 4. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br />A strong thesis offers a DEBATABLE response, not a statement of simple fact.<br />If the writer’s thesis is “On the 2300 block of Curtis Street, poverty and gentrification face one another,” then s/he’s not making a debatable claim (for who could disagree that Stewart’s humor appeals to his audience?); rather, s/he’s stating a fact.<br /> <br />
  5. 5. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br />A strong thesis offers a DEBATABLE response, not a statement of simple fact.<br />A strong thesis not only makes a debatable claim but explains the REASONING behind it.<br />If the writer’s thesis is “The stark contrast between a homeless shelter and a block of uninhabited condominiums reveals the ‘personality crisis’ that defines present day Denver,” then s/he has indeed offered a debatable response to the question. But s/he hasn’t yet explained the reasoning behind that claim -- the “why” behind the “what” of the thesis.<br /> <br />
  6. 6. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br />A strong thesis offers a DEBATABLE response, not a statement of simple fact.<br />A strong thesis not only makes a debatable claim but explains the REASONING behind it.<br />A strong thesis is SPECIFIC enough that readers understand precisely what argument they’re being asked to consider.<br />Consider this thesis: <br />Because it startles its audience by offering two conflicting perspectives on Denver, the 2300 block of Curtis Street is a powerful impetus for change.<br /> <br />By itself, the thesis is a debatable, reasoned response to the question, but it’s not sufficiently specific. Unless the writer has answered these questions earlier in the paragraph, we don’t know specifically whatthese “two conflicting perspectives” are, nor who its audience is, nor what change it inspires.<br />
  7. 7. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br /> <br />A strong thesis offers a DEBATABLE response, not a statement of simple fact.<br /> <br />A strong thesis not only makes a debatable claim but explains the REASONING behind it.<br />A strong thesis is SPECIFIC enough that readers understand precisely what argument they’re being asked to consider.<br /> <br />A strong thesis LOGICALLYCONNECTS all of its key ideas<br />Here’s the gist of my thesis, but with all of the logical connectors and repeating words taken out. Notice how difficult to interpret it is.<br />At the heart of that drama is what might be called the exigence of urban poverty. The Saint Francis Center aims to perform what faith communities call corporal works of mercy, i.e., to provide food, clothing, and shelter. The condominium developers want to develop real estate, attract capital, and create jobs. On Curtis Street, we see that conflict embodied: Denver the fast-growing, ultramodern, upscale urban workspace and playground confronts Denver the economically precarious, socially stratified casualty of the global financial meltdown. How one interprets it depends, in large measure, on which side of the street one stands on – both metaphorically and literally.<br /> <br />
  8. 8. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br /> <br />A strong thesis offers a DEBATABLE response, not a statement of simple fact.<br /> <br />A strong thesis not only makes a debatable claim but explains the REASONING behind it.<br />A strong thesis is SPECIFIC enough that readers understand precisely what argument they’re being asked to consider.<br /> <br />A strong thesis LOGICALLYCONNECTS all of its key ideas<br /> <br />Finally, a strong thesis is FRESH, ORIGINAL, and THOUGHT-PROVOKING.<br />
  9. 9. FEATURES OF A STRONG THESIS<br /> <br />A strong thesis RESPONDS to the question; it doesn’t simply restate it.<br /> <br />A strong thesis offers a DEBATABLE response, not a statement of simple fact.<br /> <br />A strong thesis not only makes a debatable claim but explains the REASONING behind it.<br /> <br />A strong thesis is SPECIFIC enough that readers understand precisely what argument they’re being asked to consider.<br />A strong thesis LOGICALLYCONNECTS all of its key ideas<br />Finally, a strong thesis is FRESH, ORIGINAL, and THOUGHT-PROVOKING.<br />
  10. 10. FEATURES OF A WELL CRAFTED BODY<br /> <br />It SUPPORTS the thesis statement by ANALYZING EVIDENCE.<br />It DEVELOPS the thesis statement by fleshing out each of its KEY IDEAS.<br />It organizes the key ideas in a LOGICALLY PROGRESSIVE, PURPOSEFULLY ORDERED SEQUENCE.<br />It devotes the MOST SPACE to the most original, interesting, and/or controversial aspects of the thesis, and less space to the less original, interesting, and/or controversial aspects of the thesis. <br />It DOESN’T STRAY from the thesis.<br />
  11. 11. A traveler looking north up Curtis Street from the corner of Curtis and 23rd, in the Five Points neighborhood in Denver, CO, will find a perfect illustration of Lewis Mumford’s observation that “the city creates the theater and is the theater. . . . [that it is] where man’s more purposive activities are focused, and work out, through conflicting and cooperating personalities, events, groups, into more significant culminations” (Mumford 185). For on the 2300 block of Curtis Street we find vividly dramatized one of the social, economic, and political conflicts defining the character of present-day Denver and, indeed, cities across the US. On the west side of the street is the Saint Francis Center, an unassuming cinderblock building that for some twenty-five years has served a daytime homeless shelters. On the east side of the street, however, stand fifteen brand new condominiums. Large, colorful, and trendily styled, these condos sell, without a doubt, at the high-end of the market. However, although they have been on the market for several years, these condominiums remain unoccupied. Homeless people and people-less homes face each other from opposite sides of the same street: this is the paradox staged daily on Curtis Street. <br />At the heart of that drama is what might be called the exigence of urban poverty. The Saint Francis Center aims to alleviate urban poverty through what faith communities call corporal works of mercy, i.e., by providing food, clothing, and shelter. The condominium development, by contrast, aims to address poverty through real estate development, i.e., by attracting capital, hence jobs. These two agendas are typically in conflict, and on Curtis Street we see that conflict embodied: Denver the fast-growing, ultramodern, upscale urban workspace and playground confronts Denver the economically precarious, socially stratified casualty of the global financial meltdown. How one interprets that drama depends, in large measure, on which side of the street one stands on – both metaphorically and literally.<br />

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