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Questions to Answer to Form a Thesis

for Writing about Fiction

The best writing about fiction does not present simple fact.  It presents a debatable position about the work and sets out to prove it.  It plows new ground or plows old ground deeper.  What has already been proven isn’t all that interesting to your instructors. (Those found in the table are the ones I used the most at the undergraduate and graduate levels.)

  • Read some literary criticism of the work, find a point you disagree with or that needs revising, and address it.
  • Take a point from literary criticism of the work and expand on it by finding proof and connections not found or made in the source.
  • Formulate your own ideas about the book, and then find literary criticism that supports your theory.  Find some that contradicts your point and explain why it’s wrong.
  • Take a seemingly logical viewpoint expressed in class by the teacher or a classmate and prove it wrong or partially wrong.