Sample Essay Outlines

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

Topic #1
Until recently, historians have glorified war—especially the returning soldiers. How has Margaret Mitchell repudiated this idea with her novel?

I. Thesis Statement: In Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell rejects the glorification of war through her vivid depiction of the negative aspects of the Civil War.

II. Shortage of Goods
A. Soaring Prices
B. Unable to get past Yankee blockades to get cash crops to England for sale

III. Loss of Existing Lifestyle
A. Scarlett’s “mourning period” for her first husband cut short
B. Plantations burned to the ground (the Mallory house, Twelve Oaks)
C. Scarlett comes to the realization that everything her mother and Mammy had taught her about being a “lady” is of no use in the war-ravaged South

IV. Death Toll
A. Friends and loved one’s names appear on casualty lists
1. Brent, Stuart and Thomas Tarleton, Joe Fontaine, Dallas McLure, Darcy Meade, etc.
B. Jonesboro is lost and Scarlett sees wounded and dying men all around her

V. Occupation by Union Army
A. Atlanta is burned
B. Yankee soldiers take everything of value—jewelry, money, weapons, and ruin everything they can’t steal

Topic #2
The Civil War radically changed the city of Atlanta. It went from being the center of Southern aristocracy, through the ravages of war, to a post-war boom town. Compare the changes to the city for each of the three stages with the changes that occurred at the O’Hara plantation, Tara.

I. Thesis Statement: The...

(The entire section is 735 words.)