A thesis helps guide an essay a paper. It provides direction for the reader as to what to expect as the essay is read. A thesis also provides direction to the writer, to help keep the article focused on a central idea.
The Thesis Statement
A thesis is the main idea of an opinion essay. That thesis is best expressed as a one or two sentence thesis statement that presents the focused argument that will be made by an essay writer.
Link the Thesis Statement to the Body Paragraphs
A good thesis statement sets up the three-body paragraphs for a five-paragraph essay. Choosing "Atticus Finch succeeds as a character because he is a good father to his children, an asset to his neighbors, and a heroic lawyer for his community" makes it clear what the main idea will be for each of the three body paragraphs in the essay.
Present the Writer's Opinion
A good thesis statement expresses the writer's opinion on a topic, instead of just offering facts. The statement "Raising the minimum driving age is a good way to reduce the number of accidents" is a thesis statement, where "Driving can be unsafe" is simply a presentation of a known fact.
Use One Thesis Statement, Not Two
A good thesis statement argues one main idea. Selecting the statement "Batman is my favorite superhero because of his determination" has one focused topic, whereas the statement "I have a fondness for Batman as a hero, but I also like Superman" invites an essay that will waffle between to topics.
Avoid Self-Evident Statements
A thesis statement shouldn't present an opinion that is overly obvious. Creating the statement "Loving a pet responsibly includes having that pet spayed or neutered" leaves room for discussion, while the statement "Abusing animals is wrong" presents an opinion that is so well accepted that there is little interesting material.