Thematic Essay | Examples, Outline, Definition


What up guys, it’s Vlad from EssayPro, and
man… writing is hard! We know some of you are sitting at home, pulling
at your hair, because you just can’t make your writing the way you want it. Well today, EssayPro is here to make it all
a little bit easier for you as we will go over how to write a thematic essay. Don’t forget to subscribe for more essay
writing tips and tutorials. First off, what is a thematic essay? Well, the word “thematic” should give
you a clue – it’s an essay where you discuss a piece of literature primarily through its
themes. Not only are you stating what themes are present,
but you’re also explaining and analyzing how the author managed to pull it off. A reader should be able to read your essay
and figure out the central themes in the literary work and understand why they did it. In writing this essay, you will use most,
if not all of the skills you would use for writing any other essay. The difference here, however, will be in how
you keep focusing on your chosen themes and motifs. There are two major parts to writing this
sort of essay. The first one is to figure out which piece
of literature it is that you want to dissect. In a classroom setting, this could potentially
be given to you, as you’re most likely going to be writing about something that you’ve
talked about or read in class. Easy! Now, if you have complete and total free-range
for your essay, it can be a little bit overwhelming to choose what exactly you want to discuss. But, have no fear! There are a few key questions you can ask
yourself in order to narrow down all the gazillion possibilities. Ask yourself:
“What books have I read recently that have really made me think?” “What conversations have I had that really
match something I’ve read?” Another approach could be listing your favorite
pieces of literature or listing all the themes that are interesting to you and matching those
to a literary source. You’re doing all of this in an attempt to
find your central question. An example of this could be:
How is the question of perception versus reality explored in A Streetcar Named Desire? What is Vonnegut saying about morality and
mortality in Slaughterhouse-5? Or, How is innocence, or the loss of innocence
presented in The Catcher and the Rye? You don’t want your question or topic to
be too vague or broad, because then there will be too much to talk about, and that will
make it difficult to keep your essay tight and focused. So, a question such as: “How is human nature
discussed in Animal Farm?” is probably not a good choice. On the other hand, don’t make your question
or topic too specific, since that will limit what you can talk about and make it really
difficult to gather enough evidence. An example of a question that is too-specific
would be: “Why does Salinger use the word “phony”
so much in The Catcher in Rye?” This question forces you to focus on that
one word: phony This word is limiting your discussion potential. You can fix it by asking:
“How is Salinger commenting on the concept of phoniness and authenticity in The Catcher
in the Rye?”. The core concept is the same, but this question
allows you to broaden your argument. Onto the second part – writing: The first
step is to get all your information together. How do you do this? Go through the piece of literature that you
are focusing on, and summarize it to yourself. Write down every place you can think of in
the book where your chosen themes are relevant. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between
subject and theme. For example, in The Catcher and the Rye, the
subject is Holden Caulfield as he wanders around reminiscing about various aspects of
his life. The themes, however, are about cynicism, fake
personalities, and the loss of innocence we all suffer from as we inevitably have to grow
up. Furthermore, the author, JD Salinger, creates
those themes by showing you Holden Caulfield’s thoughts, and helping you understand what
he is feeling at this point of his life. In your introduction, present your main topic
in an interesting and captivating way. Your first sentence should grab the reader,
and pique their interest. Use the next two sentences to give any necessary
background information about the literature that you may want the reader to know. Lastly, your introduction should end with
a thesis statement. Your thesis should present the central theme
of the novel and give your reader a taste of what you will be discussing in your essay. Before you write your body paragraphs, you
should gather all the evidence you will need from the text. A crucial technique you need in order to write
a successful thematic essay is to really evaluate the choices of the author. Analyze the word choices they make:
What they are trying to make you feel What is the significance of their main point? Remember, each body paragraph should use a
literary device as a claim. You are giving your reader 3 body paragraphs,
which means that you need 3 literary devices to show how the author is creating and building
their themes. In Slaughterhouse-5, Vonnegut repeats the
phrase “so it goes” whenever a death is mentioned, and treats both horrific scenes
of war and idyllic scenes of family life with the same nonchalant tone. Vonnegut is using a motif, and repetition,
to emphasize moral ambiguity, and to tell his readers that sometimes, life moves on. Be very careful not to spend too much time
focusing on the plot of the story. When writing a thematic essay, you do not
want to give a synopsis of the book. Instead, pick a select few instances in the
plot that support the themes you are discussing. For example, instead of giving a chronological
summary of all the stories Blanche tells in A Streetcar Named Desire, you could select
just one anecdote and then juxtapose it with Stella’s point of view. This way you can show your reader how Blanche
often lives in her own fantasy, without burdening them with too much information. Some more crucial tips for your body paragraphs
are: Ensure that the first sentence in each body
paragraph has a topic sentence. A topic sentence in a thematic essay should
introduce your claim and lead your reader into your evidence. Also, make sure to include the author’s
name, and how the claim relates to your thesis. Use direct quotations when you can. Direct quotes really strengthen an argument,
and they are the best form of evidence to use in an essay like this, but be sure to
link your evidence to your claim. For example, extending the previous Slaughterhouse-5
argument mentioned before, a potential topic sentence could say: “Through repeated use of the motif: so it
goes, Vonnegut discusses mortality as an inevitability that should not be treated with too much reverence
while also questioning our framework of morality.” With this topic sentence, it is clear that
the literary device I will be discussing is the repeated use of a motif. It is related to the theme of morality and
mortality, and I can use numerous direct quotes that include “so it goes” as evidence. So, as you can see, a good topic sentence
can really help you organize your body paragraph as you write. Now to finish things off, let’s talk about
the conclusion. There are three main things to remember when
wrapping up your essay. First, never present any new information or
evidence at all. Just don’t do it! Instead, restate or paraphrase your thesis
using transitions such as “In conclusion” or “Finally.” – This will give your ending a nice smooth
and natural flow. Second, briefly summarize your three central
claims and how they relate to your thesis. This doesn’t have to be long or elaborate,
just give your readers a little reminder of what you’ve been talking about. Lastly, end your essay with some broad statement
that gives a wider global relevance to your writing. This can be a call to action, or a statement
that leaves readers chewing on your ideas. For example, in an essay about the loss of
innocence in The Catcher in the Rye, a concluding statement could be: By closing the essay with a sentence like
this, you will open the reader’s mind to the greater ideas at large, and leave them
wondering how else they can dig into the topic! Well, that’s it! Now, hopefully you are equipped with all the
know-how to go ahead and tackle that thematic essay. Here at EssayPro, our professional team has
over twenty years of writing experience and our goal is to give you all the best resources
so that you can write better and more thoughtful essays. If you find this video helpful, please be
sure to like and subscribe to our channel! Leave us a comment if you have any questions
or ideas for future videos, and we will get back to you shortly! Anyways guys, thanks for watching. See you on the next video, i’m out, peace!

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