Sample Essay Outlines

  • Topic #1

    Throughout Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. DuBois refers to the “veil” behind which many blacks spend their lives. The veil can be compared to “rose-colored glasses” that provide optimism for blacks who choose not to see their oppression. Yet at the same time, it harms them by encouraging blacks to ignore the circumstances in which they live. Trace the ways in which W. E. B. DuBois defines life “behind” and “beyond” the veil and his ideas about how black Americans can learn where society has placed them.

    I. Thesis Statement: During the years following emancipation, blacks could choose to live “behind the veil,” viewing their newfound freedom as a blessing, or they could live “beyond the veil,” seeing their real place in American society and their newfound freedom as an incomplete or near-mockery of true democracy.

    II. Life “within” the veil
    A. DuBois realizes he is sheltered during a teaching experience in Tennessee.
    B. Booker T. Washington’s politics ask blacks to live behind the veil.
    1. Washington’s capacity to galvanize national support is positive.
    2. The “Atlanta Compromise” urges black support of their inferior status.
    C. Commerce and the material world of Atlanta may convince blacks they’re free.
    1. Atlanta is a commercial center that offers new opportunities.
    2. Blacks’ capacity to rise economically in Atlanta is a distraction for the fact that they remain economically disadvantaged.

    III. Methods for emerging from the veil
    A. The Freedmen’s Bureau attempts to right social wrongs done to blacks.
    1. It succeeds at establishing a school system, medical care, etc.
    2. It fails to secure true equal legal rights or financial support.
    B. Education has the potential capacity to “lift the veil.”
    1. A true education teaches blacks to see how they have been positioned in...

(The entire section is 762 words.)