Figure 88: Essay Excerpt on “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” Thomas De Quincey

Below is a sample excerpt where the student fails to define how she will use her thesis to usher the reader.

The excerpt falls under the comment “Thesis Unclear/Need a Clearer Thesis Sentence.”

You may access the comment by clicking on both the “T” and “Thesis” categories or by typing the title into the search box. You may also click on the link.

You may print the excerpt for class discussions.

Sample Excerpt

Racism, by definition, is associated with discrimination based on race; it is the belief that some races are inherently superior to others.  As is the case with Thomas De Quincey’s “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.”  De Quincey approaches the reader from a first-person point of view.  He makes several racial and ethnic remarks about the Malay who knocks at his door.  Some of the remarks are biased and some are based on De Quincey’s personal feelings of the Malay.  Both views will be discussed.

Figure 88: Essay Excerpt on “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” Thomas De Quincey


The student writer doesn’t present a clear and definable thesis. In other words, the student doesn’t define her purpose for the essay she writes. In addition, the student applies contemporary ideals to a dated text.


1) How is “racism” associated with “race”?

2) Is not “racism” an extension of “race”?

3) What is your stance?

4) What exactly will you do?

5) By what method will you discuss De Quincey’s views?

6) Aren’t De Quincey’s remarks already biased and personal at the same time?

7) What else is there to discuss about De Quincey?

Revision Consideration

Always maintain the integrity of the text. Stay within the boundaries of the context. This will help you develop an appropriate thesis.

For an extended explanation, see also “Ambiguous (Thesis and Author’s Ideas).”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved

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