Creating Your 2D Thesis

Thesis statements. A requirement for all essays great and small, witty and dull, fantastical and…you get the idea. Most teachers agree on a few basics for the thesis statement: it should be one sentence in length, state either the author or work (because you will have stated both previously in your introduction), tell the reader the central point of your paper but not give too much away, and some will say it should provide the basic skeletal structure for your body papers.

That’s their version. My version is slightly different. It comes from a wonderful teacher’s Honors English II course. Your thesis should still follow the above requirements and be 2D. Two dimensional. Giving two pieces of information to be explained in greater detail throughout the paper. Your thesis should tell the “What” and the “Why”. In essence, your thesis should provide the reader with a generalized Act/Fact and the central Abstract/Tying it Back (depending on the prompt). The key to accomplishing this is relatively simple – make your thesis include some version of the phrase “in order to.”



 In the novel, Fitzgerald uses the color yellow as a symbol of corruption in order to illuminate the characters’ lack of morals.

In this example, the thesis includes the “What” as the Fact “yellow is symbolic of corruption” and the “Why” as the Abstract “to illuminate the characters’ lack of morals”.

The bet between Higgins and Pickering serves as a catalyst to inspire Lee’s audience to question the morality of upper class Victorian society.

In this example, the thesis includes the “What” as the Act “the bet between Higgins and Pickering” and the “Why” as the Tying it Back “inspire Shaw’s audience to question the morality of upper class Victorian society”.


But why should you do this extra work? I mean, a standard “The author uses symbolism, imagery, and personification in the novel” would suffice as a thesis, right? Well, in the most general scraping-by-with-a-C terms, yes. However, for those of you Advanced Procrastinators who want a higher grade (and, I mean, you did sign up for AP so thinking you want to get a good grade isn’t much of a stretch), structuring your essays around a 2D thesis adds depth and insight to your essay. It sets your essay up to easily transition to Tying it Back, and not to mention, AP graders award higher grades to essays who “demonstrate a knowledge of the complexities of the issues at hand” or something like that. Basically, by adding the “in order to” – by making your thesis 2D – you are showing your readers that you really understand what is going on (even if you totally don’t!). Besides, it makes you sound smarter, and who doesn’t want to sound like a pretentious Englishman when writing literary analysis?

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Summer reading, while annoying and generally the bane of all students-enjoying-their-well-deserved-vacation’s existence, is still important. Not because the book will change your life, but because the first couple weeks of school (not counting the arbitrary getting-to-know-you first day) center around it. Make sure you know what your summer reading is, read it, and remember enough of it to get by.