We will be writing thesis statements, revising them, and using them as tools to help us revise our essays. So let me clarify what I mean by the term "thesis statement." By the way, some of the explanation that follows will be more specific or slightly different from some things you find in your handbook. Of course, to "develop" a thesis statement doesn't necessarily require writing it down on a piece of paper and handing it in with your essay. But that is what I will ask you to do for every essay you write. No good essay is entirely informative or entirely persuasive. Almost any good essay will have to inform the reader at some points and persuade the reader at others. But every good essay is unified, moves toward a single major point. What is the assignment asking? How can you answer that question AND focus on a small area of investigation? What "code words" (such as "relative freedom" or "lifestyles does the draft of my thesis statement contain? I will often ask you to write a "trial thesis statement" before submitting a draft of your essay; the term "trial" means that this is not a thesis statement you are committed to. What is it good for? Is it just busy work? Something English teachers are required to impose on students to keep them from having any free time? One of those long traditions that everyone has forgotten the reason for? Often a thesis statement will be expressed in a sentence or two; be sure to check with your professor for any particular requirements in your class-some professors prefer a more subtle approach! The Thesis Statement (printable version here a thesis statement is one of the greatest unifying aspects of a paper. It should act as mortar, holding together the various bricks of a paper, summarizing the main point of the paper "in a nutshell and pointing toward the paper's development.