Sample Essay Outlines

The following paper topics are based on the entire novel. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.

Topic #1
Discuss the ways in which Jean Valjean finds redemption in the course of the novel. How is Jean Valjean an honorable man?

I. Thesis Statement: Through his actions, Jean Valjean seeks to redeem himself for past crimes and becomes an honorable man.
II. Jean’s decision to seek redemption
A. Past crimes
B. The influence of the bishop.

III. The path to redemption
A. Jean resurrects M—— sur M—— and becomes a respected citizen
B. The rescue of Fauchelevent
C. The Champmathieu affair
D. Jean loves and cares for Cosette
E. Acts of charity
F. Jean spares Javert
G. Jean rescues Marius

Topic #2
How does Hugo express human misery in Les Misérables?

I. Thesis Statement: Both the unfortunate and the infamous experience misery in the novel.

II. The misery of man.
A. Jean Valjean.
B. Thénardier.

III. The misery of women.
A. Fantine.
B. Thénardier’s wife.

IV. The misery of children.
A. Eponine and Azelma.
B. Cosette.

Topic #3
Discuss the bravery and courage of the characters in the novel.


(The entire section is 514 words.)