When reading an essay, the thesis is the first thing a person will look at. It needs to be strong. It needs to grab the readers attention. It needs to be clear. But most of all, it needs to explain the purpose of your writing.
I have never been an amazing writer. My words don’t bring tears to peoples eyes or make them laugh when my character laughs. I am by no means even close to the best writer in my class. When we have timed essays in English class my first thought is “I have to finish this essay” instead of “I have to be proud of my work.”
Recently my English class had a timed essay. I didn’t know we had one and was totoally unprepared for it. When we were given the prompt and essays to analyze, I didn’t know what to do. The essays were written by Annie Dillard and John James Audubon. Both the essays were focused on birds, but they had a totally different way of approaching the subject.
The prompt was to compare and contrast their writing styles. In class, we had yet to reach Compare/Contrast writing so I was unsure of what to do. My thesis looked like:
“Though they differ in their use of factual evidence to support their claims, Annie Dillard and John James Audubon both appeal to a sense of unrestrained freedom and the inexplicable power that the ability of flight gives animals such as birds.”
When reading back over this thesis, I am confused as to what I was trying to say. I guess I was focusing on the words instead of how they were written. My teacher gave me another chance to write my thesis and it turned out like this:
“Though they both utilize intense visual imagery and appeal to a sense of awe in themselves, Annie Dillard and John James Audubon describe the birds in differing styles: artistic and scientific, respectively.”
With some help from my teacher, I was able to focus more on a compare and contrasting prompt. I wasn’t worried about the content of the writing as much as I was worried about how the author wrote it. This is very helpful when analyzing writing.
An author’s tone toward his/her subject is very important in writing. When conferrin with my teacher I learned to look for word choice. Audubon described the birds as “immense legions.” This gives me a very militaristic and organized view of the birds. They are in order and have a place to be. He views the birds as a scientist analyzing bird patterns. However, Dillard chooses to descirbe the birds as “transparent, and whirling, like smoke.” Dillard is a more artistic writer. She utilizes emotions and metaphors to get her message across.
When looking at the essays like this, I am learning a more analytic way of reading a writing. The way to most see my improvement, is to look at my thesis as it shows my understanding in a clear and concise sentence.