To write an effective thesis statement, start by asking a question about your topic, like “Why is the Mississippi River so important in Huckleberry Finn?” Then, answer the question and make your answer your rough thesis. Once you’ve got a rough 1-sentence thesis, tailor it to the kind of essay you’re writing, whether it’s analytical, expository, or argumentative. Make sure your thesis covers one specific point, and that you have enough evidence to prove that point. For more help with writing a thesis, like how to come up with a unique thesis, read on!
Close reading is deep analysis of how a literary text function; it is both a reading process and something you include in a literary analysis paper. When you read a text paying specific attention to certain literary elements, looking for particular patters, or following the development of a particular character, you are practicing close reading. Likewise, when you watch a film with particular emphasis on a certain element, you are doing a close reading. Of course, when one writes an essay that teases out a certain element, this is the beginning of a close reading. Like literary analysis more generally, close reading is not a means in and of itself. Close reading helps inform the larger meaning or import of a work.