What are we talking about? It's hard to tell. The reason? We have no thesis (or main idea). This opening paragraph, disjointed as it is, could lead into a discussion of values and aesthetics, such as what constitutes the ideal diner or how much chrome is pleasurable. It could also become an evaluation, or perhaps a comparison and contrast essay. It could even be an argument: an argument to go to the Blue Star Diner for a late-night snack. Without a thesis we'll never know. Hence, we can see that a thesis is of some valuable use, if not entirely necessary.
A thesis statement is a sentence, two sentences, or a number of sentences, which provides a focus for an essay. It will generally be found within the closing lines of the first paragraph of an essay, but it can also occur in the second paragraph or even on a later page. Its primary purpose is to convey the author's purpose and attitude.
Truly effective thesis statements are specific. For example, what does "Gun control is essential" do as a thesis? It's so broad that the reader has no idea what to expect in the rest of the paper. Also, it offers no sense of the author's angle; there are many reasons why gun control could be essential. The reader needs to know which one (s) the author espouses. Strive to be specific when developing your thesis statements. Also, a thesis statement should be NARROW enough to be proved within the confines of whatever length you intend to make your essay. For example, a thesis of a 3-page paper and a 20-page paper are going be different. The 3-pager will have to be much narrower.
Whatever you call it, a thesis statement may take any number of forms; it may, in fact, be carried over through an entire paragraph or developed over a number of pages, but you must consider the over-all length of your essay. If you are writing a fifty page paper you might have room to write a three page introduction that conveys a sense of your thesis; however, if you are only writing a three or four page essay it will be very important to keep your introduction concise and well within the first or second paragraph.
Further, it may not always be useful to think of "Thesis Statements" as the name for that controlling statement. It might imply an amount of weight that can make it more difficult to compose the essay. Perhaps a better way to consider your "thesis statement" would be as an "introductory statement" or a "topic sentence" (or sentences). In any case, there are certain things it must do and, generally, it is necessary for something approximating a thesis statement to occur.
But consider: all effective writing has some sort of controlling idea, but not all writing has an explicit thesis. For example, memoirs and reflection papers will have some sort of main point, but that main point may not necessarily be stated. Whether or not you state the thesis depends upon what type of writing you're doing.
The thesis serves three functions:
Some Questions For When You Consider Your Thesis
Some of the ideas on this page were adapted from the Little, Brown Handbook, Sixth Edition