Chapter 3: The Full Three Storey Thesis
An Example Third Storey
Let’s revisit “The Ultimate Communications App” from Chapter 1. After careful reading of the text, and based on the evidence we gathered, we might identify the last two paragraphs as the central paragraphs to the author’s complex argument:
This is probably the basis for the evolution of different languages (see “Tower of Babel”). If we go back far enough in time, all of us living today have a common history, but over thousands of years different peoples occupying different places have come to conflict and cooperation with each other.
Each of us has our humanity and human origins in common with everyone else alive today. Since then, we may have got here in different ways, but we all share the present time in common. We, in fact, share this age in common with the Earth’s biosphere and all its manifest diversity.
First, let’s choose an audience that the author is addressing. Again, there can be more than one potential audience for a text. To make things simple here, we will look at this essay as if it were written for first-year university students based on the language used, its genre (essay on a blog) and the particular argument it is making. However, be careful: you, as a reader are not always the intended audience and when identifying an intended audience you should reflect on the tone, language and argument in the author’s essay.
Then we can focus in on the contrasts of “cooperation” and “conflict” and the repetition of the word “common” as the two best pieces of evidence. When pointing to the words in the text, we remember they are not our words, so we must cite them correctly as the author’s. If you need a refresher on in-text citation, you can read more in Chapter 13. We then follow with the controversial claim of our two-storey thesis statement:
FIRST STOREY: In his essay “The Ultimate Communications App,” Charles Justice writes for an audience of first-year university students in Canada. He uses the contrast of “cooperation” and “conflict” (para. 11) in combination with the repetition of the word “common” (para. 12) in closing his argument.
SECOND STOREY: Justice is arguing that while humans have become distanced into “occupying different places” (para. 11) by technological, agricultural and domestication evolution, it is the shared history of humanity growing from the same original roots of collective language construction that unites every modern person to their human counterparts around the globe.
When adding a third storey to this two-storey thesis, you must consider the logical extensions of this argument as they relate to the original text as a whole. In general, when developing your third storey, you might ask:
- Is the author offering a solution to a problem raised earlier in the text?
- Is the author warning of specific further consequences that will arise from a problem raised earlier in the text?
- What does the author want the reader to leave the text thinking or doing?
One danger at this stage is getting too ambitious and trying to make a broader or more general claim than you can substantiate. For example, a third storey such as “Justice therefore argues we should all get along because we all share the same human history” is a sweeping generalization and far too simplistic. Similarly, you must guard against adding a third storey such as “Justice tells us that we should destroy all technology, like apps, and go back to the old ways of communicating because they united everyone” because such a claim is not grounded in evidence from the text.
Your third storey must follow logically from your first two storeys but it cannot stray outside of the focused purpose of a close reading: analyzing the author’s complex argument. You should be returning to the text itself, and perhaps making use of additional pieces of evidence, to help you explain the larger argument the author is making. While your goal is not to explain every potential argument in the text, in the third storey you should be explaining the importance of the argument that emerges from the first and second storeys of your thesis.
Watch Video 3.2: Adding a Third Storey to see how we can add third storey to the above two-storey thesis.