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where do i write the thesis as a tile or in a paragraph

Essay #1: Poetry Analysis

T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats introduces us to a series of poems that are easy to understand for readers of all ages. The colorful cats entertain us with their antics while Eliot amuses us with his fabricated words to achieve a certain rhythmic sound in his verse. Yet, even the simplest of texts say more than we initially think. In fact, they often reveal a specific theme that the author wants us to remember as we go about our everyday lives. This essay will allow you to explore the ways in which Eliot does this very thing.

To begin this essay, select a single theme that you see illustrated in Eliot’s poems. Remember, a theme is a commentary that is made on a subject. For example, “Death” is not a theme; it is a subject. However, “Death is the great equalizer that controls our everyday actions” is a theme. So, whatever theme that you select, it will not simply be one word.

Once you have selected your theme, you will need to select at least 3 poems from Practical Cats that you believe illustrate it. In other words, this theme will be a recurring one throughout the collection. In an argumentative analysis, you will develop a thesis that answers the following question: how is this specific theme the most dominant and important one in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats?

A thesis statement for this essay should be structured like the following example: “Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain's Huckleberry Finn suggests as its dominant and most important theme that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave ‘civilized’ society and revert back to nature.”

Your line of reasoning will be based on proving how the theme is illustrated in each of the poems. Therefore, each paragraph will be developed around a specific poem from the collection. You will need to integrate quotes from each of the poems throughout the essay to illustrate your claims.

Please use the PIE format to develop your body paragraphs and use textual evidence (direct quotation) to illustrate your ideas. By the very nature of PIE, quotations should appear in the middle of a paragraph, not at the beginning nor at the end. Each quotation must be integrated using some form of attributive tag. “Dropped quotes” are not acceptable.

You will be required to construct a Works Cited page for this assignment according to MLA guidelines. I will not accept any essay that does not have one. Outside research is not required for this assignment.

Your essay will be assessed on the following criteria:

Development of a thesis statement that answers the question posed

Development of a specific line of reasoning that proves the thesis

Specific topic sentences that provide reasons for the thesis

Use of the PIE format to organize and sequence your ideas

Use of the MLA format and Works Cited page

Avoiding excessive summary; you are writing an analysis

Depth of critical thought, creativity, and originality

Grammatical accuracy

Your rough draft must be reviewed by the Writing Center by the specified date. Final drafts will be 5-7 pages in length. Please refer to the syllabus for additional information about grading.


It should be placed in the first paragraph of your paper. You have a secondary option: you can use an introductory paragraph and then place the thesis in the second paragraph.

17 Answers by Expert Tutors

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Kelly G. | Tutor near WarminsterTutor near Warminster
4.8 4.8 (21 lesson ratings) (21)

Typically, a thesis statement is a single sentence at the end of your introductory paragraph and states the argument you plan to explain further in your essay.  A title is much shorter, usually a few words, and should hint at your essay's topic and your thesis.  For example, you know that a book titled "Soccer for Dummies" is going to be about soccer and will probably have instructions in the sport.

Kristen D. | Elementary Education and Special Education Tutor with DegreeElementary Education and Special Educati...
4.4 4.4 (5 lesson ratings) (5)

Your thesis statement should be somewhere in your introductory paragraph.  It should a clear sentence in your introduction that tells what the paper will be about.  Since your thesis is based on your paper, it should include specific important elements of what your paper is about so you will not have much flexibility with this.  Luckily for you, you get to be a little creative with your title!  Your title should definitely be on the topic of your paper but you will have a lot of flexibility with what you can do with it.  The title should be interesting so that people will be drawn to your paper (similar to the introduction, but not as specific).  Good luck!

Priscilla G. | Bilingual UCLA Student With A Passion For Teaching, Writing & ArtBilingual UCLA Student With A Passion Fo...

Your thesis statement should be written in your introductory paragraph and should let your reader know what your paper will be about, what your central argument is and how you will support that argument. Your title should be what draws your audience in, like that of book's title.

Duenna K. | FT exp'd tutor, Sp. needs to AP, K-grad schoolFT exp'd tutor, Sp. needs to AP, K-grad ...
I think it is important in this age of poor to unacceptable writing as the norm to comment briefly on Jennifer C.'s
7/2/2013 comment of the "cookie cutter' 5 paragraph essay as regarding the question of thesis placement and choice of title. Where Jennifer says "cookie cutter" I would say "classic," especially since this useful and adaptable writing format cannot be produced well by a majority of middle or high school students. It is well structured, provides for  thoughtful, well reasoned and organized presentation of facts or persuasive arguments and is well suited to connective  or building thoughts between paragraphs. It is easily expanded to a longer length if the subject matter or argument requires that.
I find it difficult to imagine what Jennifer imagines to be a "more sophisticated" or creative writing format when one is presenting and proving a thesis. Even at the doctoral level, or in the basis for a complicated persuasive article supported by a plethora of facts, one must build a "train of thought" that can be retained by the reader even in a work of several chapters. In complex subject matter which builds upon previously introduced material, the writer must remind, refresh, connect and reinforce the foundation and building blocks which prove the thesis, one step at a time.
Thus, the thesis is stated quite early on in the paper, but in a longer, more complex set of arguments may need to be restated several times as its proof is constructed in words, much like an architect shows successive overlays to the basic foundation of the body as the building takes on layers of structure.
I know of no other basic format in theory that does this better than the humble 5 paragraph essay. It also structures the mind to think in a concise, organized and supported fashion that lends itself to pithy public speaking.
Anyone who masters the 5 paragraph essay can stand up in public and defend a particular position intelligently and briefly. He or she can also probably unlearn the "5PE" and quickly learn to write a law brief.
I would also advise those who dismiss the "5PE" not to ever overestimate the intelligence or time that any reader will give to your essay. Simple and brief is better, especially once you leave school.
As to title, if it is not prescribed, do leave this as the one place to exercise a bit of creativity. It draws your reader in, sets your essay apart from every other, but must be related to the essay, and if possible, your thesis question or conclusion. It's not the tasting spoon in the ice cream shop, it's the prospect of the tasting spoon.
Let's agree to leave these so-called sophisticated writing schemes to more creative forms of literature, even other forms of non-fiction. But let's respect the essay once again.
Duenna K.  Barrington, RI
Cecile P. | Experienced French and ESL/ESOL Teacher/Tutor - All LevelsExperienced French and ESL/ESOL Teacher/...
5.0 5.0 (5 lesson ratings) (5)

Kelly G.'s answer is great! I just wish she also added an example of thesis statement to be compared to her example "Soccer for Dummies" as the title of a book about soccer.

To add to her illustration, therefore, I would suggest a thesis statement in the introduction of this book to be something like, "The rules of the soccer game are easier than most people think."

Margaret V. | Eccentric & Engaging Stylized TutoringEccentric & Engaging Stylized Tutoring

The thesis is suppose to be a "road map" for your paper and is stated within the introduction. Use the link above and it helps you develop your thesis and main headers. Consider your thesis as a guide that someone reads to know what problem you are addressing, why it is important, strengths to support it, and theories or data you may want to include. 

Developing an outline is the easiest way to develop the thesis: (do not state Intro as a header; Intro and Concl are easiest to assemble after the body of the paper has been developed):

Intro (Thesis) 

Main Topic (Synopsis 1st point)Level 1 heading

Heading Level 2 heading

Sub-heading. Level 3 heading

Sub-heading. Level 3 heading

sub-heading. (level 4 heading; usually examples) but headers have to match, so you would place another level 4 heading or combine one with the level 3 heading.

Secondary Point




Final Point





(Page Break to start References on new page)



Hope some of that helps! You can also use for citation generators and style helpers.

Austina M. | "Patient and Knowledgeable Tutor""Patient and Knowledgeable Tutor"

A thesis is a statement summarizing the purpose of your essay.

A thesis is usually found in the first paragraph of an essay. It tells the reader what to expect.

A thesis is specific to the paper. You can either put it in the beginning of the introductory paragraph or the end..

Rachel Kay K. | Creative Teaching Techniques for Students Who Learn DifferentlyCreative Teaching Techniques for Student...
4.9 4.9 (34 lesson ratings) (34)

The thesis should end your introductory paragraph.  It can be a simple "Elito uses technique A, B, and C to demonstrate this idea" of more complicated, like "while such and such can be the case, ultimately Eliot argues that so on and so forth."


Your title should be connected to your thesis, but it should not be a complete sentence.

Linda W. | CERTIFIED English, Spanish teacher experienced also in test prep.CERTIFIED English, Spanish teacher exper...

Your thesis statement should be in your first paragraph.  For a college essay, it should fall as the last sentence in your introductory paragraph.

For the rest of a five paragraph essay (which is required for the writing section on the ACT or SAT) you should have a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.  Following that sentence you should have reasons supporting your topic sentence.  I suggest you give three reasons (examples) per paragraph.

Whatever you title your essay, it is a good idea to hook the readers' (ACT/SAT writing judges) attention, like a headline.


Jennifer C. | English/ Reading, Writing, Research (Analysis Strength)English/ Reading, Writing, Research (Ana...

The cookie cutter 5 paragraph essay standard is that the thesis be somewhere around the end of your introductory paragraph; however, if you are breaking from cookie-cutter form and writing a more sophisticated form of an essay, your thesis may be placed anywhere as long as it is clear that the sentence is your thesis and is placed somewhere prior to your proof and support, so your reader is aware of your claim prior to reading your support. If your instructor has not advised a preference, then you are free to place it in the most logical place for the best flow.

Shelby C. | Enthusiastic tutor specializing in English, French, and writingEnthusiastic tutor specializing in Engli...

The thesis statement should appear in the introduction (first paragraph of your paper), usually towards the end of the paragraph. It's the main idea of your paper so you want to tell the reader upfront what you're talking about. Also, the subject of each topic sentence of your body paragraphs should tie directly to your thesis in order to have a coherent, logical paper. Hope this helps!

Melissa S. | Writing TutorWriting Tutor
5.0 5.0 (5 lesson ratings) (5)

Typically, your thesis should be stated towards the end of your introductory paragraph. In Middle School and High School, teachers will often prefer that the thesis be one sentence long. However, at the collegiate level, a thesis may be anywhere from 3-4 sentences (depending on the topic). As for the title, Middle and High School teachers may require a certain title while college professors encourage students to think of their own creative headers. Hope this helps!

Talia D. | Creative Professional Here to Help You Excel Creative Professional Here to Help You E...

The title and thesis of a paper are completely different. Although the title may allude to the papers content it is merely an identifier for your paper. The thesis outlines your papers central theme and prepares viewers for the supporting paragraphs that follow. The thesis is strategically placed in the introductory paragraph usually as the first or last sentence.  Some may even argue that it should be reiterated in your conclusion as well. 

Wanda R. | English and Test Preparation TutorEnglish and Test Preparation Tutor

Your thesis is generally found in the introdcutory paragraph and restated with a summary of your main points in the concluding paragraph.  Your title should be creative or eye catching so that it will prompt readers to continue reading but not necessarily worded like your thesis. 

Judi C. | Passionate about English and LiteraturePassionate about English and Literature

Your thesis statement is written into your first paragraph. This is where you introduce your position and prepare the audience for what you will be explaining or persuading them on.

Gary M. | Writing for all reasonsWriting for all reasons

Did you notice that the responses seem a bit contradictory? My best advice: ask the teacher who assigned the thesis about preference. Deductive preference: place your thesis in your opening sentence. Inductive preference: place your thesis in your first paragraph's closing sentence. Either way works. Two hints for free: proof your essay for cliche's and eliminate them. Follow Strunk and White and omit needless words.


When in doubt,; includes styles and citation generators as well. - and as Gary says, omit needless words. I recommend downloading the visual thesaurus, you will find an extraordinary amount of ways to replace words that are redundant but necessary as well. And thesis from the start is always better because you capture the reader's attention.

Andrea C. | Effective, Experienced, CaringEffective, Experienced, Caring
5.0 5.0 (1 lesson ratings) (1)

I agree with the first two answers.