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 A thesis statement is a declaration of that which you intend to prove in your paper. Traditionally, the thesis statement of a good essay can be easily spotted at the conclusion of paragraph one. An easy way to develop your thesis statement is to envision a sentence that could begin with the words "I believe that..." --- without actually stating these words. For example, if your essay was to argue that Hamlet's madness was feigned, your thesis statement might look something like this:

 Evidence in Shakespeare's play demonstrates quite clearly that while Hamlet's madness may seem genuine on the surface, it was very clearly feigned.

 Notice that the sentence above could have just as easily begun with the words "I believe..." because it is a declaration of what the writer believes and intends to prove in their essay. Once presented, a thesis statement becomes the driving force behind any essay. Each point presented in the student's writing must be a point that supports their thesis. In the above example, the writer might have begun by listing all points pertinent to their argument (i.e., examples of evidence showing that Hamlet was faking his madness) and then wrapped it up by "fleshing out" the essay around those same points. Generally, each paragraph of a good, thesis-driven essay will head off a new point that supports the writer's central argument-- casually flowing into new paragraphs with smooth transitions known as a "topic sentences." Moreover, near the a well-written conclusion of a good thesis-based essay, the author will be sure to address the opposing argument... and debunk it--showing readers why the nay Sayers are wrong and he or she is correct. Writing essays based on the support of thesis statements is a well-organized, balanced way to make a point. Students mastering this skill will learn to write clearly, persuasively, and professionally.

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