What? Start a fight?
A few years back, I was talking to a teacher who directed her students to compose meek and mild thesis statements so as not to offend any readers. I shared my opinion that a competent writer should be able to state any opinion or hypothesis professionally and academically. She disagreed, stating that a smooth relationship between reader and writer trumped all other issues in writing.
Many of the great works started fights, and that is a good thing. We need disagreement, we need challenges to the status quo and we need to push the boundaries of agreement to question what we are doing.
What if Galileo chose to placate the Catholic Church instead of publish his materials on the solar system? Would we be living in a polite, the-sun-spins-around-the-earth kind of world?
If Charles Darwin had feared ruffling anti-science feathers, would he have shared his findings that demonstrated humans likely evolved over time, just as all creatures do?
And what about Harriet Beecher Stowe? Should she have kept her stories to herself and hidden away the miseries of the American slavery system in preference of appeasing the slave-owning class?
Not at all, in my opinion. When you have something valuable to say, you need to say it and pack it with punching force. When your research leads you down a path that may anger the state of affairs, then publish that research without inhibition. Truth and interpretations change over time. Just 50 years ago, Jim Crow laws were accepted in the South but today they are unthinkable. 150 years ago, it was acceptable to own and breed human beings for profit, but today our laws protect individuals from slavery.
Why is this? These changes in behaviors came about because people stated their theses and hypotheses. Yes, their theses started fights, and these were fights that needed to be fought to address inequality. These are the important fights to engage in, and writers lead the way by putting their ideas out there.
So, don’t bother trying to please anyone with your writing. When you have a thesis statement, state that opinion with force and power, though do it professionally and academically. Your readership may disagree, may grump and grumble. That is OK. If your writing is going to realize an effect, then you may need to poke a bear now and then.
Want to learn more about strong thesis statements? Check out The Simple Guide to Thesis Statements and Support.
Good luck with your writing!
About the Site