Towards a “Better Thesis” for Analysis of “Very Simply Topping Up the Brake Fluid”

The following exercise is focused on crafting a three-part thesis statement, using analytical data associated with a close reading of Simon Armitage’s dramatic monologue “Very Simply Topping Up the Brake Fluid.”[1]
  • Read Armitage’s poem and consider your own evaluative and interpretive response, as well as matters of rhythm, rhyme, diction, and voice.
  • Review the following pieces of analytical data, gleaned from close reading, making sure that you understand each point:

The poem is a dramatic monologue, like Browning’s “My Last Duchess”.

The diction is plain, and there are several indications that Armitage wants to mimic the colloquial speech of the mechanic,

In tension with Armitage’s efforts to mimic the plain speech of his speaker are the poem’s strict meter and rhyme scheme.

Review the following:

Copy and paste the following template into the text box below to create a more complex thesis statement. On the next slide you can export your response to continue your work on it.


  1. Armitage, Simon. “Very Simply Topping Up the Brake Fluid.” The Broadview Introduction to Literature, edited by Lisa Chalykoff, Neta Gordon, & Paul Lumsden, 2nd ed., Broadview Press, 2018, p. 1256.


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Building a Better Thesis Statement Copyright © by Neta Gordon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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