1 September 2010

Happy off-to-Hogwarts Day!

Today we’re going to workshop your thesis statements.  First, I’m going to offer you a series of thesis statements that I’ve written as samples of various approaches.  Then you’ll swap statements with a partner and ask them to do some analysis of the statement.  Finally, we’ll put 2-3 of them up on the board and workshop them as a whole class.

In thesis workshops, the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep a sheet of paper in front of you that you can use to try out ideas.  If you’re not trying out ideas, you’re not learning from the workshop.

We got through two thesis statements–Juju’s and Max’s, but we didn’t get to Andrews.


In Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” the American wants Jig to have an abortion because he wants to travel with her without the burden of having a child.


11 thoughts on “1 September 2010

  1. I think this is very true about the American, but I’m kind of confused about why traveling with her is important to the meaning of the story. Maybe, (depending on what Andrew is going for in his paper) he should try to talk about the American’s insecurities about it or how he feels about the abortion from the quotes in the story.

    • Shannon, I think what you are noticing is that the so what is weak in this thesis…the question for Andrew is what he wnts to develop as a so what….unless there are clues in the sentence that I am missing… Other folks? What do you think or what do you want to propose?

      • Well it kind of seems to me that Andrew’s going for the American’s fear of losing Jig. So he could say something like how people are afraid of change and want to keep their lives the same, even when a decision like a baby could bring them closer.

  2. I agree with Shannon but to add to that, perhaps he means that the American doesn’t want to have an abortion because he feels it would weigh him down or keep him from traveling freely with the woman or doing things they normally like to do together?

    • I see where you’re going Michael. So basically he wouldn’t want the abortion because of the life that they would have with the child and they would miss the experience of their time with it?

    • I agree with Gloer: emphasize more on the american’s feeling of freedom, and his belief (and doubt) that the baby would make him lose this freedom.

  3. I have to say, not meaning to be hurtful here but i really cannot see a “so what” in this thesis statement… perhaps the “so what” could be something along the lines of “since that is the case the american is pushing very hard for Jig to get the abortion” Its rough but i think it might help.

  4. Another way to add to that could be that the american doesn’t want the child because he isn’t ready for the commitment that having a child involves,.and might have doubts about having a long-term relationship and family.

  5. I agree with Asa, i dont see a “so what” either…you should try to see how the”what” changes our understanding of the story. the American not wanting Jig to have the baby because he wants to travel influences how we understand Hemingway’s story by…?

    • Emma,

      YES! This is exactly the right question to ask…and part of what I was trying to say earlier when I was commenting with Shannon…but I love the way you’ve asked it here.

  6. I am also noticing there are a lot of posts about doubt and loss of freedom going together. Maybe if you combine the American’s doubt about the baby with the loss of freedom and say something about the American’s doubt actually preventing him from grasping this freedom, the so what will become more clear.

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