A thesis statement is the single most important element of an essay. Your thesis statement is your claim or argument about your interpretation of a literary text. A thesis statement should be one or two sentences in length and placed at or near the end of your introductory paragraph. Your thesis statement will be a road map for the rest of your paper, and therefore the rest of the paragraphs in the paper will provide support and evidence for your argument.
Make Notes and Observations
In order to develop your thesis statement, you should first read Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” and write down your observations about various literary elements such as voice, diction, tone, mood and theme. All of these elements come together to produce a certain effect on the reader and create a particular kind of response. Your notes about these aspects, their interactions and potential effects on the audience will help you in writing your thesis statement.
Use Your Observations
Your thesis statement should not merely restate facts about the novel or your observations. Instead, you should use your observations to make some sort of claim or assertion about “Robinson Crusoe." Because the goal of your essay is to convince the reader that your argument or position about “Robinson Crusoe” is correct or true, your thesis statement has to make some sort of argument.
Develop Your Thesis Statement
The ultimate goal of your literary analysis essay is to put forth your interpretation of “Robinson Crusoe” in the form of an argument and justify this position using specific evidence from the novel. Therefore, your thesis statement should answer both of these questions: what claim are you making (or what is your position about “Robinson Crusoe”), and why is your claim or position important?
Examples of Thesis Statements
If you want to write a thesis statement on Robinson Crusoe's journal keeping, the writing website Paper Starter suggests that you consider the effect that Crusoe's journal-keeping has on him as a character or the effect that his style of narration has on the reader. An example of a thesis statement about journal-keeping might be, “In his novel 'Robinson Crusoe,' Daniel Defoe presents the reader with Crusoe's journal in order to show Crusoe’s self-involvement and self-awareness.” This is a thesis statement because it takes a particular position about what the journal does in the novel, instead of merely pointing out that Robinson Crusoe kept a journal. On another topic, an example of a thesis statement about the shipwreck and what it represents might be: “In Daniel Defoe’s novel 'Robinson Crusoe,' the main character is a self-involved narcissist who serves as a symbol of the white colonizer.” Again, instead of simply saying that Robinson Crusoe is a self-involved person, this thesis statement takes a particular position about what that observation represents in terms of the novel's cultural context.
Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.