I felt inspired to talk about an observation session the I participated in at CU’s Writing Center. At this session I learned more than just how to help tutor students; I learned something that improved my own writing on a “global level”.
The writer came into the tutoring center and met the consultant. The writer was taking a comic books class in which he was required to write an extensive analysis on his interpretation of a single comic book page.
“I have a lot of facts and observations in here,” he said. “But could you help me figure out my main point? I don’t have a thesis.”
The consultant read his paper aloud, making sure to highlight certain sentence level errors with her intonations and pauses. At the end of the paper, she said that she loved that she felt like she was reading the comic book frame by frame and thought the flow of the paper was phenomenal.
At the end of the session, she addressed his questions about his thesis.
“I think you know exactly what you are trying to say. But if you are looking for a grand statement that is completely unique and original, your probably not going to find it. But a thesis doesn’t need to be anything profound, or even summarize your whole paper, it is simply there to guide the reader through the paper.”
This was some of the wisest and most realistic advice that I had heard in a while. So many teachers scare you with your thesis. They tell you that is has to be something that ties the whole paper and is the most fundamentally imprtant part of a piece of writing. I believe that this is over dramatizing the purpose of a thesis. A thesis statement may very well be the foundation of the paper, but it doesn’t have to carry the whole weight of the paper. Rather it is there to help displace the weight evenly throughout the paper.
It is this type of large-scale advice that I find extremely important when working to create better writers