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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013

How To Write a Theme Essay: Tips and Example

Theme essays should be structured according to the theme requested in the assignment. If you want to write an excellent theme essay, you need to read the assignment prompt very carefully because it will help figure out what the requirements are, how to start, and what you should include in the thesis.

How to Start the Essay

Carefully read and understand the essay prompt. Usually, the theme essay has a specific prompt that is provided by the teacher. For most of the essay prompts, you will first have to identify the theme or the general message in the text. A smart way to do it is to carefully look at the words and the terms used in the prompt. Highlight the keywords or the phrases you think are important because it will help you understand how you should structure your essay, what to address but also how to write. An example of an essay prompt could sound like this: relating to the John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden, try to reflect on the theme of good versus evil. Brainstorming the ideas, you'll need for the essay is the second important step in this first part of the essay. After reading and understanding the essay prompt, you should think about the way you will write the actual essay. Brainstorm and write down all your ideas that come up into your mind. The main idea is that you will have to do the proper research and support the central argument of the thesis. Use your imagination and creativity to find examples, ideas, and arguments for the central idea you'll support in your essay. Here are several useful tips on how to work on this step: Write down in a list of everything you know about the current topic. Include all the knowledge and information you found by yourself, but also the things you've learned in class. Put on paper all the phrases and keywords in the text that are related to the essay prompt. Write down the words, sentences or key scenes that come into your mind when you’re thinking about the essay prompt. For the current example, you can write down things from your experience or things that you imagine when you’re thinking about the good and evil theme from the East of Eden. The thesis statement creation is the third essential step of this first part. The thesis statement is represented by a sentence that sums up the entire subject of the essay. You have to introduce the thesis statement in the first paragraph of the essay, also called the introductory paragraph. Also, it is essential to know that the entire essay has to support the thesis statement. Your thesis statement has to be related to the theme of the essay, and it has to support the main idea about which you're writing. For the current example, the thesis statement could sound like this: "In the East of Eden novel, John Steinbeck doesn’t accept the Biblical good and evil idea, but he focuses on the contradictions that appear when we're talking about the good and evil topics." As you can see, the thesis statement is a single sentence that represents the main idea of the text, and it also includes the name of the author and the name of the novel. It will help people know what your essay is about from the very beginning. In the last step of this first part of a theme essay, you will have to outline the essay. At this step, you should already know details about your thesis, and the thesis statement should be already done. Now it's time to outline your essay. Depending on the requests of the teacher, you'll have to adapt your style to fulfill the requirements. Some professors might ask you to create a 5-paragraph essay, while others might ask for more extended studies. Most of the essays contain three main parts, and each part might contain multiple paragraphs. The three main parts of an article are the following ones: the introduction, the body of the essay and the conclusion. Each of them has a precise specification that you need to respect. For the current prompt of the East of Eden novel, the outline of your essay could include the following things:
  • The introduction: includes the thesis statement and discussion about the landscape as metaphor.
  • The body of the essay: it includes a mountains description, and details about how mountains symbolize the good and the evil. It also reflects how the characters live between these mountain worlds and how they get caught between the good and evil.
  • Conclusion: it consists of the final thoughts, restates the thesis statement and presents the landscape again as a metaphor.

Writing Guidance

Make sure you include a hook in the introduction. Because the introduction is the first sentence of your essay, it is also vital. It has an important role, and it has to hook the readers. This is why you have to include a first sentence that stands up and catches the reader's attention. Next, you should include a short description of the essay and what you'll discuss in the body of the thesis. You should insert the thesis statement at the end of the introduction. There are a few practical methods you could use as hook sentences for your introduction:
  • Questions – they are a great way to make readers engage from the beginning
  • Rhetorical questions –”How do people decide between what’s good and what’s evil?”
  • Quotes – use quotes from the text as hooks for your introduction.
Introduce the ideas that support your thesis statement and the whole essay. You should include the supporting ideas in the body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should start with an introduction. A smart way to do it is to include an idea that supports the essay and that particular paragraph. Each idea of the body paragraphs should relate to the thesis statement. An excellent example of the current text would be a body introduction that relates to the role that nature plays in the novel, and a discussion about the good and the evil. Doing this, the readers will know what the paragraph is about and on what you're focusing. Build your essay using examples from the text. After you’ve introduced the main ideas that support your statement, you should bring up the details from the text that support the same topic. Quotes or references from the text you’re working with are a great way to elaborate the supporting ideas. If we’re talking about the same novel, East of Eden, you could discuss the nature topic in a paragraph and use quotes and scenes from the text in the body paragraph. Make sure that the quotes and the scenes you include in the paragraph are related to the nature topic.

Revise your Theme Essay

Check if you respected the structure of the essay. Reviewing the essay is as important as the actual writing. Don't forget to check the structure of the essay, and make sure that your theme essay includes: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Also, check if you've included the thesis statement in both the introduction of the essay and in its conclusion. It is smart to evidence the supporting ideas of your thesis in the body paragraphs, so check this thing too. The flow of each idea and paragraph is essential for the readers, and this is why you need to check if there is a smooth transition between each ending of a paragraph and the beginning of a new one. Check for errors – spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is recommended to read the thesis a few times to discover if there are any spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Once you notice them, highlight them and then correct all of them. An excellent way to catch all the errors is to print the essay on a paper and to proofread it. It is much more efficient than proofing on a computer. Ask other people to review your work. Most of the people don't like criticism, but asking others to review your work is a great way to improve it and to a get a better result. Ask a friend or a family member to read your essay and to share their honest opinion. Also, make sure they pay attention to the grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. You should be open and willing to get honest and constructive feedback from them.
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