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Sample Essay Outlines

Sample Analytical Paper Topics
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 help get you started.

Topic #1
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This statement by Lord Acton, sent in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton on April 5, 1887, provides the basis for understanding the effects of power on the heads of state, and it furnishes insight into one of the main themes in the novel Animal Farm. Write a paper that shows how power affects the characters, the events and the outcome of the book.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Animal Farm is a historical novel, set in England but dealing with the events leading up to and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. It illustrates the idea expressed by Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This abuse of power can be demonstrated by studying Napoleon’s actions in the book.

II. Power on Animal Farm before the Rebellion
A. Man has absolute power, taking without producing
B. Jones operates the Manor Farm with no regard for his animals
1. Animals aren’t fed
2. Animals are slaughtered
3. No animal lives its life to a natural end
4. Animal families are broken up by the sale of the young

III.The Meeting
A. Old Major holds the key to power: eliminate man
B. The pigs are the leaders even before the Rebellion
1. They are more clever than the others
2. They are assertive, sitting in the front at the meeting
3. They teach themselves to read
4. They are the organizers forming various animal committees.

IV. The Rebellion
A. Elimination of man creates a “power vacuum”
B. Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer become the new leaders that fill the vacuum
C. Pigs get special privileges—milk and apples

V. The Harvest
A. Pigs are the supervisors
B. They make the work schedules
C. They move into the harness room
D. Special privileges for the pigs are said to be necessary to keep Jones away

VI. The Windmill
A. Napoleon and Snowball vie for control of the farm
B. Napoleon eliminates the competition
1. He uses the dogs to expel Snowball
2. Squealer discredits Snowball
C. Napoleon assumes the power to run Animal Farm

VII. Changes on Animal Farm
A. Trade with the humans
1. The arrival of Mr. Whymper
2. The sale of a stack of hay
3. The sale of part of the wheat crop
4. Contract to sell eggs
B. Pigs move into farmhouse
C. Change in the Fourth Commandment concerning beds by the addition of the phrase “with sheets.”
D. An end to voting at the Sunday meetings
E. The pigs become responsible for making all the work decisions

VIII. Force Equals Power
A. Mutiny of the Hens who object to the sale of their eggs
1. Starved out by Napoleon
2. Ended by unleashing the dogs
B. The “Great Purge”
1. Animal leaders opposed to Napoleon’s policies are killed by the dogs
2. Boxer comes under attack for questioning Napoleon’s condemnation of Snowball

IX. More Changes
A. Changes in the Sixth Commandment...

(The entire section is 1,097 words.)