Three-Story Thesis Time!

Throughout my academic career, the one thing I’ve always struggled on writing, until recently, was a thesis. Personally, I never learned how to write one until my freshman year in high school, each teacher seemed to push it off to the next year. Before that, my essays were messy. There wasn’t a singular point that the whole essay revolved around, rather it was a string of ideas that barely connected to one another and strayed away from the original prompt. 

That was, until my 9th grade English class. My teacher sat me down during lunch one day and walked me through the process of creating a basic thesis, including a claim and typically three reasons. This formula got me through my English I and II class, and luckily I managed to avoid writing an essay for my English II state assessment because of the pandemic. This was the only way I knew how to write a thesis, any other way seemed excessive and, frankly, unnecessary. 

However, this year, in my AP Language and Composition class, my teacher introduced my class to the idea of a three story thesis. Before you start thinking about houses, let me explain. 

One-story theses include facts that aren’t open to debate or interpretation. They’re quick and straight to the point. An example of this would be “Scientists disagree that vaccines are harmful.” This typically isn’t thought to be a thesis, it just states a position without providing any reasons to back it up. To step this thesis up to a two-story thesis, it has fluff that makes it arguable. In order to raise our one-story essay another level, we can add “Studies suggest that vaccines are useful in order to prevent the spread of viruses.” Now, to push our essay one more time to hit that last step, we have to add points that show the implications that are involved in our two-story thesis. By adding, “Therefore, vaccines help humankind by eliminating the threat of detrimental viruses.”

There are three main differences between a one-story and a three-story thesis. 

  1. The thesis is non-obvious. Rather than just clearly stating that “global warming is bad”, the author should add some ambiguity to it. Develop your arguments to be less obvious, and make your thesis more interesting!
  2. The thesis is arguable. By looking at the thesis, the reader should read it and think, “Is that really true?” For example, if we use the thesis from Lumen Learning, “Scientists disagree about the likely impact in the U.S. of the light brown apple moth (LBAM), an agricultural pest native to Australia. Research findings to date suggest that the decision to spray pheromones over the skies of several southern Californian counties to combat the LBAM was poorly thought out. Together, the scientific ambiguities and the controversial response strengthen the claim that industrial-style approaches to pest management are inherently unsustainable,” the reader might doubt how science and the effect of pheromones work together to show how pest management is not good for the environment. 
  3. The thesis analyzes. Think about why you’re making the claim. If we look at the thesis from above, the thesis analyzes the effect of pheromones and relates it to scientists’ opinions, and ties it off with a bow by saying how it is unsustainable.

The thesis is unarguably the most important part of an essay. By boosting your essay with a little bit of one of those differences from above, your essay can be impacted greatly.

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