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Sample Essay Outlines

Topic #1
In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe emphasizes that the effects of slavery are as tragic for the slave as for the slave-holder. Discuss why Mr. Shelby and Augustine St. Clare are ambivalent figures because of their involvement in slavery.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Mr. Shelby and Augustine St. Clare are ambivalent figures because despite being humane slave owners, they unwittingly contribute to their slaves’ miseries.

II. The slave owners’ humanity
A. Both treat their slaves humanely
B. Mr. Shelby repulsed by Haley the slave trader
C. St. Clare knows slavery is wrong
D. St. Clare exposes Miss Ophelia’s hypocritical stance on slavery

III. The slave owners’ carelessness
A. Mr. Shelby falls into debt and must sell Tom and Harry
B. Mr. Shelby refuses help from his wife
C. St. Clare opposes slavery, but cannot free his slaves
D. St. Clare stalls at writing Tom’s free papers and dies

IV. Their unintentional effects on Uncle Tom
A. Mr. Shelby separates Tom from his family
B. St. Clare dies and Simon Legree buys Tom

Topic #2
Uncle Tom and Eva St. Clare can be considered as saintly martyrs. Explain how each fits this description with regard to slavery and religion, referring to examples from the book.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Uncle Tom and Eva St. Clare are saintly martyrs because both share the qualities of Christ-like piety: sacrificing their lives to help others, being generous, humble, and forgiving.

II. Uncle Tom
A. Understanding and forgiving of Mr. Shelby for...

(The entire section is 508 words.)