Sample Essay Outlines
Sample Analytical Paper Topics
Topic # 1
Three of the major characters in Tar Baby are black women. Each has a different attitude toward white society. Contrast the three women’s perspectives.
I. Thesis Statement: In Tar Baby, Toni Morrison’s three black female characters—Jadine, Ondine, and Therese—exhibit differing attitudes toward white society and culture.
II. Jadine’s Attitude
A. Jadine has adopted many of the attitudes and behaviors of the white culture.
B. Jadine is uncomfortable in a black social environment.
III. Ondine’s Attitude
A. Ondine is usually courteous toward white people due to her position in the Street household.
B. Ondine has no respect for Margaret Street, her white mistress.
C. Ondine feels superior to other blacks on the island.
IV. Therese’s Attitude
A. Therese merely tolerates the white society as it benefits her.
B. Therese actively pursues her native black culture.
Topic # 2
Many myths, legends, and folktales appear in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby. These stories help to develop the cultural milieu and to demonstrate racial bias, as well as to set a pattern for events within the novel.
I.Thesis Statement: The validity embedded in major cultural myths, legends, and folklore in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby is substantiated by events in the novel or by characters’ beliefs and actions.
II. The myths behind the history and name of the island are upheld by Son, Therese, and Ondine.
A. Son’s choice at the end of the novel, perhaps to join the ghost riders, is plausible.
B. Therese’s final advice to Son is to pursue Jadine, a black woman who has forgotten her “ancient properties,” or to join the mystic riders of the legend.
C. One of Therese’s ailments, her loss of vision, is related to the legend of the original slaves on the island being struck blind.
(The entire section is 847 words.)
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