To get to your final thesis, you'll need to refine your draft thesis so that it's specific and arguable.
Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.
Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.
The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.
This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans' significant creativity and business ingenuity.
This statement is more precise in that it identifies two American characteristics that drive-ins appear to symbolize: creativity and ingenuity. But this assertion also seems to be one that few would argue with.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
This statement introduces a new idea, and it is the first statement that is arguable to some extent. The new information is that drive-in movies were forerunners of later developments and that they had an impact on our culture.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America's economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
Notice that this sentence is different in structure from the one you started with ("Drive-ins represent Americans' creativity and business ingenuity"). The "factual" information in the earlier statement has been incorporated into a dependent clause ("While drive-ins . . . ingenuity"). The contestable part of your idea then appears in the independent clause ("they also have affected our personal standards"). In other words, you are no longer focusing on a claim that most people would agree with; instead you are using the obvious as a point of departure for an idea you will need to "prove."
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans' business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.
This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.
As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.
If you already know what the beatitudes are, you will know that living out the beatitudes is very important for a Christian. The purpose of the beatitudes is to inspire you to act in certain ways. Therefore, living them out is absolutely at the heart of the matter.
Simple Acts of the Beatitudes
The best approach to this topic will be for us to go through the beatitudes one by one, highlighting how people can live out each beatitude.
Some of these acts are simple, and some of these acts are grand:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
- Someone prays every day, but always offers prays for others and not him or herself.
- A person gives up all of his or her free time in order to volunteer.
- A family works to ensure that God is part of their daily lives.
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
- The families and friends of the victims of 9-11 are in despair, but the Lord shall provide for them, whether now or in the future.
- A person loses a very close family member. God provides for that person by allowing them to reunite in the hereafter.
- A family is torn apart and a child vanishes. The parents never find the child in this life, but the family is reunited in the next world.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
- One individual feeds a homeless individual.
- Groups of people anonymously leave clothing for a clothes drive.
- A person humbles him or herself before God in prayer.
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
- The Peace Corps sends out groups to provide for a variety of different causes.
- Volunteers peacefully march against an unjust law.
- A student stands up for an individual who is being bullied, teased, and thereby tormented.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."
- Anytime someone truly forgives another, mercy is shown.
- A life is spared at the last minute by a merciful leader.
- A child forgives someone who hurt him or her at school.
"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."
- An individual reads the Bible, completely opening his or her heart to the message.
- Children play together at a park with no bias or prejudice of one another.
- A person completes a good act without expecting a reward in return.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."
- Leaders of countries work towards and bring about peace.
- Two old friends decide to let go of a grudge.
- Family members who have not spoken in 35 years reunite with each other.
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
- Someone is mocked for standing up for an individual that others do not like.
- Christians continue to hold strong in their beliefs, even though they are persecuted.
- A person states that he or she is a Christian, even though the individual knows that there will be consequences.
Clearly, there are a number of ways in which the beatitudes come into play in daily life. Indeed, there are certainly many other ways in which these tenets can be lived out as well.