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The thesis statement should remain flexible until the paper is actually finished.
The first paragraph serves as kind of a funnel opening to the essay which draws and invites readers into the discussion, which is then focused by the thesis statement before the work of the essay actually begins. If necessary, write the thesis statement that way the first time; it might help you determine, in fact, that this is your thesis statement.
You will discover that some writers will delay the articulation of the paper's focus, its thesis, until the very end of the paper. But when you rewrite your paper, eliminate the bald assertion that this is your thesis statement and write the statement itself without that annoying, unnecessary preface.
But one begins to detect a new theme emerging in some of these authors, especially in Hemingway: the theme of the male hero increasingly preoccupied with proving his virility to himself.
And by mid-century, the male role had plainly lost its rugged clarity of outline.
Today men are more and more conscious of maleness not as a fact but as a problem.
The ways by which American men affirm their masculinity are uncertain and obscure. ." Such phrases betray this paper to be the work of an amateur.
That is possible if it is clear to thoughtful readers throughout the paper what the business of the essay truly is; frankly, it's probably not a good idea for beginning writers. Here are the first two paragraphs of George Orwell's classic essay, "Politics and the English Language" (1946).
Avoid announcing the thesis statement as if it were a thesis statement. Which of these sentences would you say is or are the thesis statement of the essay which is to follow?
The frontiersmen of James Fenimore Cooper, for example, never had any concern about masculinity; they were men, and it did not occur to them to think twice about it.
Even well into the twentieth century, the heroes of Dreiser, of Fitzgerald, of Hemingway remain men.