Project #31323 - Activity 4.2 the thesis with tension

A strong thesis has to be risky, has to challenge the reader, has to 'stick its neck out,' in the words of writing teacher Peter Elbow. A thesis with tension (another way of describing a strong thesis) provides an almost automatic stimulus to a reader's curiosity. If you are paging through a magazine, for example, would you stop to read an article that begins: "Diamonds are valuable and prized commodities"? You might, if you already had an interest in diamonds; otherwise, you'd probably turn the page. You might be much more inclined to read an article that begins: "Most people see diamonds as valuable and prized commodities, but they are among the most worthless of nature's creations." A typical reader will wonder why the writer makes such a statement, which contradicts the accepted ideas about diamonds. A typical reader might wonder how the writer would support such an unlikely contention. This tension created by the thesis will encourage the reader to read on and discover what the writer has to say.

To start learning how to craft a thesis with tension, read Chapter 2 pages 37-42, Concept 5 in Ramage, et al.; then, complete the following exercise.

1. Set your timer for five minutes.

2. Choose one of the topics listed below and create as many surprising thesis statements as you can. Be outrageous. You do not have to worry about supporting any of these statements; this is just a brainstorming exercise to stretch your imagination.

 

For example, if the topic is pets, a surprising statement might be: Most people think pets provide psychological benefits for people, but pets are actually harmful to psychological health. I have no idea how to support such a statement, but that's irrelevant for this exercise. The idea is to come up with as many surprising statements about your topic as possible. Possible topics include:

television news the right to vote
college athletics movie stars
taxes the Internet


Forum: 4.2 - Thesis with Tension
3. Post your most surprising two or three statements in the 4.2 - Thesis with Tension forum. Be sure to return to the forum later this week to read some of the theses posted by your classmates.

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 05/20/2014 11:00 am
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