I'm writing a paper on A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (persuasive essay)
I need help in outlining the important theme
I started with this question:
What aspects do Dave (the narrator) missing in his childhood?
How my thesis would be?
The thesis must comprise a DEBATABLE, INTERPRETIVE claim that provides the answer for the question.
The issue of Dave's childhood, but more importantly his late adolescence and his early twenties, is central to AHWOSG, so you have a good initial question. I'll begin by describing some things you may want to think about while writing your paper, and then I'll give you some strategies for doing a close reading of the novel, for organizing your thoughts, for gathering evidence, and for writing your outline. Since writing a good outline is crucial to writing a good paper, it will be well worth your time to think through all of these questions and to figure out exactly what you want to say about the novel.
1. About AHWOSG
AHWOSG is a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age story; over the course of the novel, Dave becomes an adult. What's simultaneously tragic and compelling about the novel is that Dave becomes an adult by raising his younger brother, Toph. As your question suggests, raising Toph does end Dave's childhood prematurely; he misses out on a great many things, and he has responsibilities which other young people rarely have. However, it is the process of raising Toph that allows Dave to eventually become an adult. He has a unique view of both childhood and parenthood because he is simultaneously parent (to Toph) and child (of his dying mother). In reality, Dave is neither a child (he becomes an orphan) nor a parent (he never fathered any children of his own). Dave struggles to be a parent to his brother, but at the same time he mourns the loss of his childhood. His struggle to be a guardian for Toph is concomitant with his struggle to come to terms with his own identity--to figure out what kind of man (rather than boy) he is. You could argue (as it seems you'd like to) that the central conflict of this novel stems from Dave's contradictory desires to remain a child, to care for Toph, and to become an independent adult.
2. Strategies for refining your central question or argument
If you want to investigate the issue of ...