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Don't you just love it when you're walking across campus, birds are singing, the sun is shining, everything is so fresh and shiny! And suddenly, you remember that you still have that thematic essay to submit. But you don't have a single page written yet. There are a lot of reasons one can have troubles with essay writing. It can be a struggle to adjust to the new life in college. Your writing skills might not be on point. Or you professor is some stuck-up conservative old man that just can't get satisfied with your essays. No matter the reason, the issue still stands - you have to write a lot when you're studying. The major part of your assignments can be cumbersome, but when you're faced with thematic writing, you can relax a bit. It has its own difficulties, of course, but with enough determination and careful guidance, you can learn how to write a good thematic essay. And we will do our best to help you!
What is a thematic essay
First thing first, let's get the thematic essay definition out of the way. One of the reasons students can have constraints with mastering this type of paper is not understanding what is asked of them. So, what is a thematic essay? It is a piece of academic writing where you analyze, explore, and then describe the way a certain theme or topic is represented in a literary or art works. You have to utilize all that grey matter and get deep into researching mode. For example, you get assigned to investigate a motif of oppression of the poor in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. You not only need to dissect the novel itself. You have to dig out the information about societal and economic states of that time, and then cross-reference them with the text of the book and other trusted sources. But we will talk about that later. First, we will focus on how to start a thematic essay. There are still some stages you need to overcome before getting into writing itself.
Preparations for writing a thematic essay
You didn't think you only need to make yourself sit down and start typing, did you? Because any writing, be it academic or creative, needs to have a strong backing system. You can't put a thing in there that you can't explain or provide background for. It is also unwise to just throw everything you've found in one pile and roll with it. You need to plan, come on! So stock up on instant coffee and library passes - you're in for a long run.
With thematic essay writing, it is not enough to analyze the piece of literary or art you're working on. Of course, that's the first stage, but it's not the only one. Firstly, you need to read the book carefully and note down your thoughts regarding the topic of your essay. What are the points you will be trying to prove? What supporting or refuting arguments can you cite from the text? What means does the author use to get his lesson across? Pen down everything that you think can come in handy when you're writing.
Secondly, outsource. Look up the books on the topic, testimonials, and documents. You need to back up your "book" arguments with the real-life events and motions. Make a list or a table, putting every detail and event across each other. It will make it easier to reference them later on. Set up the scene for yourself, and you will be thankful, trust us!
It's a common phrase inside the college circles, and basically in any part of life, but always have a plan. Get all that data you've gathered and make an outline out of it. What goes where, which fact is better for the introduction, and which is better left for the main body? Maybe, some of the information isn't even relevant? Plan the structure of your essay, make a draft, and when you get to the clean version writing, all you will have to do is fill up the gaps with sophisticated language and the products of your wit.
Thematic essay structure
After you have all the information, you need to figure out in what order to put it. There are three usual parts of a thematic essay. You are probably already familiar with them because you use them in virtually every written paper. Those are the good old introduction, main body, and conclusion. What a surprise, eh? Anyway, what you need to remember here is that the structure should be properly lined. You can't just be liberal with the framework. It's like a puzzle - you can't stick a blue piece into the place where the green field is drawn. We will break down that monster of a structure into parts, and go over each of them. We could, of course, just write it for you, but no pressure!
Thematic essay introduction
The introduction is the door into the brave new world of your essay. In order to attract the attention and interest of readers, you need to decorate it appropriately. There are a few pieces you have to include in your introduction to make it alluring.
- Hook sentence - doorknob.
Think of all the comedies you've ever watched that had a moment where a characters' hand is stuck to the doorknob because there's glue or something icky on it. That's what you have to do (albeit more aesthetically pleasing). You can start with some startling fact, a deep thought from the text, or some metaphor. Your hook sentence serves the purpose of making the readers stick with you. Make them wish to read further.
- The bridge - paint job.
After you've hooked them on your essay, smoothly lead them in with explaining what work of art you're talking about. The title, author's name, the main issues that are being brought up. Watch that those issues you mention correlate with your thesis. You don't have to describe something that happened in the book if it's the only time you're going to talk about it, and it isn't relevant to your topic. There are no rigorous restrictions for the volume, but be reasonable.
- Thesis - the hinges.
Your thesis statement is that thing that allows you to open your 'door' into the main body. It is the most major part of your introduction. In the thesis, you state the main theme of your essay. What are you trying to highlight? Structure your thesis in a way that will allow you to build on it further on. All the topic sentences in the body paragraphs will be traced back to the thesis, so it has to make sense and be well-researched.
And this is how to write an introduction to a thematic essay. Your introduction shouldn't be too lengthy, but it must include all the parts we've mentioned. Especially the thesis statement. Without it, there is no essay. So be attentive, follow the yellow brick road, and wreck those readers with your master writing skills!
Thematic essay body paragraphs
Now, let's talk about your thematic essay body. It can be challenging to construct it in a way that is seamless and neat. There are at least two paragraphs. You are free to add more, of course, but be wary of overstretching it. Each section must include certain elements.
- Topic sentence.
The thing to consider here is that each thematic essay topic sentence executes two functions. First of all, it relates to the thesis statement. Second of all, it needs to set the mood for the whole paragraph. It goes as the first thing and tells your reader about the point you will be covering. Topic sentence has to be brief and precise.
- Concrete details.
Here you provide the explanation and exemplification of the things you wrote in the topic sentence. Cover everything - starting with the scene from the book and to all the details you undug in your research. Don't stray from the certain issue you're depicting. Each paragraph is, once again, a puzzle, so don't try to stick unneeded things there.
Here comes your opinion. It's pointless to talk about objectivity, for it's hard to stay unbiased when you're analyzing something. Especially, if the topic is close to you. But still, strive to form your opinion based on the professional sources you've studied, not just your own experiences. Explain how you interpret the piece you're talking about, what do you think it means built on the results of your research. Also, don't miss mentioning how this paragraph proves your main thesis.
Write one sentence, summarizing the section and explaining its connection to the thesis statement.
Try not to get too carried away with your body paragraphs. Highlight only the most crucial points. Evaluate what should go into the essay, and what should be better left alone. Don't overstuff it. Not every reader will be willing to stick with reading a never-ending essay, no matter how captivating your writing is.
Thematic essay conclusion
This is your last chance! If your amazing introduction and incredible main body didn't convince the readers, this one must. How to write a conclusion paragraph for a thematic essay, you ask? Well, with flare, of course! A really top-notch conclusion does not simply restate the thesis and summarizes the paragraphs, although you should include that. No, an award-winning conclusion contains the description of your essay's significance. What can it do for the field in the future? How important is it on a big scale? Can it be the basis for someone else's research? Fire away!
Thematic essay outline example
Title- The power of love in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter.
- Hook sentence.
"The ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find them, in here." - Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- The bridge.
The story of how the book series was created, the hardship Rowling had to overcome to achieve success, and how her characters also battle a lot of demons - inner ones and those attacking from the outside.
Through the means of literary devices, J.K. Rowling shows how human love and persistence can bring about anything and defeat evil.
- Hook sentence.
- Body paragraphs.
- Paragraph One.
- Topic Sentence.
Through the metaphor of magic, the author shows how a mother's love can protect her child.
Lily Evans sacrificing herself in the pointless attempt to save Harry from death.
A lot of studies show that the brain chemistry of the majority of women who bore a child is set in a way that puts their offspring as the number one priority.
Lily's sacrifice is as biological in nature as it is emotional. Her death protected Harry from evil.
- Topic Sentence.
- Paragraph Two.
- Topic Sentence.
Having friends you care for can help you survive anything.
Sirius Black survived twelve years in Azkaban and stayed sane, thinking about his unavenged friends and wishing to bring about the justice. He loved his godson and wanted to protect him.
Outside support and positive thoughts are necessary for anyone to get through hardship.
Friendships are a vital part of anyone's life and can support a person even at their lowest.
- Topic Sentence.
Love can save lives, and further depiction of the positive sides of expressing good emotions can help children adapt in the world.
Good thematic essay topics examples
- The motif of strong friendship in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
- The power of human subconsciousness against the forces of nature in Stephen King's The Shining.
- Women empowerment in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
- The power of national movement as shown in Eugène Delacroix's painting Liberty leading the people.
- Battle of Waterloo as depicted in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
- Human versus animal - Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
- Different sides of loneliness and its impact on a person - Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.
- The wrecking power of passion - Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.
- Human mind's degradation in the times of desperation - Albert Camus' The Plague.
Thematic essay tips
And before you depart to create a breathtaking paper, here are some final thematic essay tips!
- Don't plagiarize. Duh.
- Choose the topic you are interested in yourself.
- After finishing writing, give someone else your essay to read. It will help you see the mistakes.
- Don't be afraid of a lot of sources! The more, the merrier.
- Don't leave it until the last minute. Manage your time wisely.
Use our guides, but be aware - with great power comes great responsibility! Don't accidentally kill someone with the quality of your essay. Godspeed!