Sample Essay Outlines

Topic #1: The Varieties and Costs of Freedom

I. Thesis statement: In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare demonstrates that there are several distinct varieties of freedom, each of which has its own cost.

II. One can be emotionally free—but one pays the cost of social disapproval.

A. Kit demonstrates emotional freedom when she dives into the water without thinking. The cost is Goodwife Cruff’s disapproval, which eventually leads to witchcraft charges.

B. Hannah follows her heart when she leaves Massachusetts. The cost is living alone, suspected by the community of witchcraft.

C. Nat follows his heart when he “illuminates” William Ashby’s house, and he pays for it by being put in the stocks.

III. One can be politically free—but one pays with blood and boldness.

A. The theft of the colony’s charter comes at great risk.

B. The Wethersfield militia organizes to fight for the colony’s freedom, and some members are killed.

C. The citizens of Wethersfield organize against the royal governor knowing that elements of their colony (New Haven colony) have already lost their charter.

IV. One can be spiritually free—but the cost is isolation and emotional austerity.

A. The Puritans as a community left England, severing families (such as Kit’s mother and her aunt).

B. Matthew Wood’s attempts to keep his family safe from sinful vanity means denying his daughters beautiful clothes.

C. Hannah Tupper’s refusal to follow the Puritan religion leaves her living alone near Blackbird Pond.

D. Kit’s rescue of Hannah and her friendship with her leave Kit vulnerable to charges of witchcraft.

V. One can be intellectually free—but one always pays a human and emotional cost.

A. Kit’s embrace of plays as literature and...

(The entire section is 746 words.)