I'm writting an essay comparing clockwork orange and the picture of dorian gray. This is my working thesis;
The refusal to abandon youth lead to the eventual demise of Alex and Dorian Gray in “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. This is shown through the belief of youth’s supremacy, their unbreakable free will and the betrayal of ones who care for them.
any tips, ideas from people who have read either or both?
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On a superficial level, you need not include those full citations in the sentence. Doing so really clogs things up, and in the paper, as you work up to the thesis statement, you can establish the two novels before arriving at the thesis itself.
On a deeper level, okay, the "refusal to abandon youth" is clear, but your expansion of this does not come off satisfactorily. If I refuse to abandon youth, I might do that through a belief in the supremacy of youth. But do I refuse to abandon youth though my unbreakable free will? Do I refuse to abandon youth, through others' betrayal of me? What do you mean by "this is shown"? That is a very abstract opening, leading to a list of mixed items.
What is it you are actually trying to say? Spell it out first in normal sentences, and then try to condense. Try writing to what you mean. This often works better than just thinking your way to it.
You might also review this info on thesis statements and how they should be phrased --
I have read neither of the stories; however, i really like to dig into thesis statements.
"The refusal to abandon youth lead to the eventual demise of Alex and Dorian Gray in “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. This is shown through the belief of youth’s supremacy, their unbreakable free will and the betrayal of ones who care for them."
The above is your thesis statement. Redwood_Girl's reply was very insightful. For the thesis, the citations are only necessary if your teacher requires that particular style. Otherwise, it is extraneous as the reader likely knows the subjects already. In regards to your thesis content, you should probably elaborate on each idea to make the thesis analytical. For example, you might condense the sentences into:
"The refusal to abandon youth lead to the eventual demise of Alex and Dorian Gray as both believed in youth's eternal supremacy over maturation and growth, thought their unbreakable free will allowed them to engage in what they thought was their right, and were subject to downfalls brought about by betrayals of loved ones."
Please keep in mind I have not read the stories; I am simply elaborating and trying to provide context in the thesis groups to give the reader a more descriptive category. Best of luck! :)