Sample Essay Outlines
The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the novel as a whole and to analyze important themes and literary devices. Following each question is a sample outline to get you started.
- Topic #1:
As the Joad clan begins to disintegrate under the pressure of migration, there is evidence to support that the family shifts from a patriarchal structure to a matriarchal one. Trace the progression of this change by analyzing and discussing key examples from the novel.
I. Thesis Statement: Steinbeck shows Ma Joad as the strong force who realizes the true value and meaning of life.
II. Patriarchal structure in early chapters
A. Gathering to plan trip
B. Posture and position of men
C. Location of women
III. Focus of family life changes to truck
A. Contents of truck
B. Orders issued by Ma
C. Eyes of characters predict change
IV. Ma asserts authority
A. Incident of jack handle
B. Savagery of California deputies
C. Contradiction of Pa’s feelings that “life’s over and done with”
D. Structure of life at Weedpatch
E. Confrontation with camp manager
V. Ma takes actions
A. Decides to move from camp
B. Plans Tom’s escape from the peach...
(The entire section is 1117 words.)
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