Margaret Walker's Jubilee is a novel depicting, in a historically realistic--yet fictitious--way, the trials and tribulations African Americans faced during life from the Antebellum years to the Restoration.
Given the author's decision to divide the novel into sections (Antebellum, Civil War, and Restoration), the text subtly proposes a compare and contrast pattern of development (essay). Therefore, one suggestion would be to follow the path of the characters over the three different periods of the text. The essay would focus upon how the characters are treated, the challenges they face, and their attitude toward their situation in life. A suggested thesis is as follows: "Margaret Walker's Jubilee illustrates the trials and tribulations African Americans faced during the Antebellum period through the Restoration."
Another suggestion would be to examine the themes of the novel. In this case, one could define and illustrate the role of the African American woman, the role of Christianity in the life of an African American during this period in time, or the concept of African American heritage (what allowed it to carry on?). In this case, the pattern of development (type of essay) would be either division-classification or definition. A suggested thesis is as follows: Margaret Walker's Jubilee defines the role of the African American woman within the periods of the Antebellum through the Restoration periods.
Finally, one could construct an essay which illustrates the journey the characters take over the whole of the text. In this case, the essay would focus upon the growth of the character (not the external challenges as mentioned in the first suggestion). The pattern of development for this essay would be either narrative (with a chronological approach) or an illustration (illustrating the journey and its impact upon the character). A suggested thesis is as follows: Margaret Walker's Jubilee narrates the journey of its characters through their trials and tribulations while highlighting their growth as they struggle for freedom.