Sample Essay Outlines

Sample Analytical Paper Topics
The following paper topics are based on the entire novel. Following each topic is an outline to help get you started.

Topic #1
Historians tell us that the novel takes place in a period of rigid class distinctions in which manners, not results, are the standard by which everyone is judged. Jane Austen derives the comedy in her novel Emma from the manners and customs of the classes she portrays.

I. Thesis Statement: Jane Austen’s Emma pokes fun at class distinctions.

II. Manners of the landed gentry
A. Emma’s well-bred manners contrasted with her ill-mannered scheming
B. Rigid Customs surrounding trivial events, such as visits and parties

III. Manners of lower classes-clergy, tradespeople, and farmers
A. Emma’s disdain for lower classes despite their hard work and tolerance
B. Their high regard for her despite her sloth and intolerance

IV. Contrived attempts at breaking class separation
A. Emma’s scheme to elevate Harriet to Mr. Elton’s class
B. Mrs. Elton’s humorous pretense of finery and connections
C. Mrs. Churchill’s “out-Churchilling” the upper-class family she married into

V. Genuine class breakthroughs to point up the folly of rigid separation
A. Emma’s enduring friendship with her governess
B. Robert Martin’s display of true gentility
C. Orphan Jane Fairfax’s engagement to gentrified Frank Churchill
D. Mr. Knightley’s dignified rebellion against his class
1. His walking or riding a horse instead of using a carriage
2. His dancing with Harriet at the Crown Inn Ball

(The entire section is 712 words.)