User’s Guide to PaperStarter.com

A User’s Guide to PaperStarter and Literature Thesis Statements…
Thanks for coming to PaperStarter to prepare for your writing quest! Whether you’re here simply because you’re completely stuck and have nowhere else to turn or because you’re looking for a good book to read and want a thematic overview before you make that commitment, hopefully you will be able to find what you’re looking for. The aim of this website is to provide you with a jumping-off point that will help you concentrate on the process of writing instead of spending hours of your time agonizing over what major themes or ideas might be worth exploring in a text. With that in mind, however, remember that these thesis statements and the quotes that correspond to them are meant to feed your process, not do the work for you. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle push in the right direction…

Since you’re reading this, I am going to play the role of psychic here for a moment and predict that you’re here sniffing around for an easy way to write a high-quality essay, just hoping against hope that there’s some magical formula that will solve all of your academic writing woes from now until eternity. Or, at least until you’re done with your formal education.

Well, I hate to break the bad news, but there really is no magic formula. Writing essays, especially when t hey are on something as subjective as literature, is just one of those things that some people will have an easier time with while others flounder about and get themselves worked up, consequently setting a mental block against writing…period. The good news is that this website will serve both of those groups of student writers; from the seasoned pros looking for solid, challenging ideas to those who struggle with writing. While there is no magic formula for writing great essays, this is at least a great way to get started and show you that every work of literature you read contains a host of opportunities for theme exploration and there is never a piece of writing that won’t warrant at least three or four great ideas to delve into.

Something to Consider Before Using PaperStarter…

One of the most difficult parts about writing essays is simply getting started. By this process of getting going, I’m not simply referring to just sitting down and getting geared up to write for an hour or two, I’m talking about actually getting your thoughts and ideas organized enough to consider where you would like to go with what you’ve written. Sometimes, your instructors or professors will make the task easy on you and will give you predefined essay topics with clean bulleted lists of the questions or ideas they would like for you to address, however, especially at the college level, this convenience is often removed and you’re left on your own to decipher texts that are thematically and otherwise complex.

So, here is something to think about: What do you do when you’re left on your own and need to find a thesis statement or main idea to discuss? Do you form an outline? Do you go back and look for important passages you’ve highlighted in the text? If you already do both of those things, you’re in good shape. After all, PaperStarter is merely a guide to make the process of thesis statement formulation a little easier and to get your started with your own ideas. The more difficult part is up to you—the actual writing process.

So before you jump to an entry that has been written for your novel, play, or short story, come up with a plan in advance and decide how you are going to use what you find. We both know that it is prohibited for you to use any of the material written here without citing it, so if you plan on using one of the thesis statements listed, make sure you gather your citation information before you leave the page. Secondly, consider what your objectives are. Are you here to find a thesis statement because you can’t think of one? If so, make sure you do not blindly go with one of the topics listed for your text without thinking. Some of the thesis statements listed are far more complex than others, even if it may not seem to be the case at first, especially since some have layers of meaning embedded in the topic. Others, such as the guides toward character analysis tend to be less challenging but still—think for yourself! This website is a guide for your writing process, not a substitute for the planning and brainstorming task that still lies ahead of you.

How to Use the Thesis Statement and Quote Combinations…

One of the first things that you should realize is that these are not ready-made, pre-packaged-for-your-convenience thesis statements that are going to work right out of the box. They are rough ideas that need further refining based on your own thoughts and ideas. They are constructed to read like thesis statements in that they make certain claims or arguments (which is what a thesis statement is, after all) but they are wordier and more dense than your final thesis statement should be. They also offer recommendations for further exploration at their end and should never be taken as verbatim examples of what yours should look like. Most of the thesis statements you will find here are complete and often include more than one direction you could go with a particular theme, symbol, or point of analysis so please, read between the lines and go through each statement more than once to look for alternate possibilities and ideas.

The quotes, much like the thesis statements, are not ready-made elements you are meant to pull straight from the website and put into whatever you are working on. Without the context of a thesis statement to guide them and put them into context, they are just random. What they do provide, however, is support for some of the main ideas in the thesis statements and show you that they exist in the text. On a deeper level, the quotes demonstrate that once taken from a text, some quotes can stand as symbolic markers for themes that are overarching and meaningful in the work you’re studying—they serve as mini-reminders to you that even though a quote might not directly reference what you are talking about, when you examine it closer and in context with your thesis statement, one quote can be worth thousands of words.

In short, when you are using PaperStarter, your primary objective should be brainstorming. That is what PaperStarter.com is and was always intended to be—a starting point, especially for those who are struggling with understanding how to make an argument about something as subjective as literature and how to best support an opinion. When you sit down with an entry on this website, do not feel like you are “choosing" the best one for you—rather, try to browse all of them with equal engagement and interest and see the variety of themes there are in the text at hand. It will give you an idea of the limitless possibilities of literature to convey subtle messages to readers and will, at least it is the hope, help you see that all works of literature contain hundreds of avenues worth exploring. Of course, these explorations are not worthy unless they are guided by a solid thesis statement and good textual support in the form of direct quotes from the text at hand.

So, that’s about it…. Remember that this site can be valuable in helping you understand that all books have multiple points worth arguing and that all arguments can and should have reliable evidence through direct quotes. With the tools provided here and the ever-growing list of books with entries, you can be sure you’ll always have a friend when you are ready to tackle your next topic. Consider PaperStarter.com your friend in the brainstorming process and feel free to send questions if needed….

PaperStarter.com, which was recognized as a remarkable startup in 2009 by Killer Startups, was founded in 2003 by Nicole Hemsoth, a writer and English Literature scholar from Ohio State University. All entries have been written by the creator and other academics with backgrounds in English and Literature.

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