Adapting to a new country

Adapting to a new country. Adapting to a new country. ENG 112

Sample Outline for Essay #2


Requirements for your outline:


1)         Thesis statement must be written out in a complete sentence and express an idea, about what the author is arguing in his or her story.

2)         Topic sentences must be written out in complete sentences and express ideas, not facts, about the poem.

3)         Use 2-3 quotes or examples from the story in each of your body paragraphs about the author’s I Say.

4)         Be sure to use each of your secondary sources (the articles from your research) at least once. Be sure to indicate the author’s name and the page number so I can recognize these as secondary sources.

5)         Be sure you discuss how the author’s I Say is reflected in 3-4 aspects of the story (setting, point of view, figurative language and imagery, symbolism, tone, diction, structure).

  1. Introduction
  2. Author and title of the story you are writing about.
  3. Thesis: What is the author’s I Say? (you could also add your I Say if you’d like, and especially if it is different from the author’s).
A.            Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”

B.             Thesis statement:     Through structure and imagery, Chopin expresses her view that all humans need freedom in order to attain fulfillment as human beings. Note that the theme is a general idea, not specific to one character only, but an argument about life or human nature in general.












  1. What is the They Say for this story?


  1. What is motivating the author? What important idea or historical or cultural events is the author addressing?
  2. What are (or were)people saying?
  3. What are other ways people have viewed this important idea?


III.           What is the author’s thesis (theme)? What position does the author take about this important idea?




  1. What elements are used to support that theme? How does the author use elements such as figurative language, imagery, symbolism, diction, point of view, setting, tone, or structure to convey his or her opinion on this important idea? Discuss at least 3-4 elements of the story.
A.            The setting within the terms of her marriage and the possibilities of freedom that await her outside of marriage.

1.             Enclosure within her room—privacy.

2.             The window as symbolic of her entrapment as well as of the possibilities that await her upon her husband’s death.

3.             Sister entreating her at the door to come out.

B.             Using symbolism, Chopin suggests the freedom that awaits Mrs. Mallard now that she is no longer a wife.

1.             birds=freedom

2.             tinker=mobility, choice of vocation

3.             music=self-expression

4.             Springtime = rebirth, renewal, new life: “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life” (79).

5.             the “breath of rain” = water=cleansing, life

6.             “She was breathing in the very elixir of life” (80). Notice how this paragraph will blend both examples and quotes from the story as evidence to prove the topic sentence.

C.             The figurative language refers to her new sense of self and empowerment possible only when her husband is dead.

Simile “She carried herself unwittingly like a winged goddess of Victory” (81).

D.            The diction with which Chopin describes the feelings that come over her after hearing of her husband’s death indicate the irresistibility, the undeniable quality of freedom.

1.             “She felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air” (80).

2.             The feeling or idea that is coming over her comes “to possess her,” and she finds herself “powerless,” unable to “beat it back with her will” (80).

E.             Chopin uses imagery of birds and flight to suggest the hopeful freedom her protagonist feels.

1.             The sparrows sitting in the eaves.

2.             The apprehension of freedom comes from her “out of the sky” and in through the open window.

3.             The “something coming for her” “creeps” like an animal.

F.             The story’s ironic structure serves to show both the absolute life and death necessity of such sense of self-actualization and the tendency of society to repress and deny such life-giving freedom.

1.             Everyone thinks she must be protected—her friend, her sister. Ironically it is protection that is stifling her.

2.             The love her husband showed to her was paradoxically what imprisoned her: “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature” (80).

3.             Chopin writes, “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long” (81), ironically just before she dies.

4.             The “feverish triumph in her eyes” is both a testament to her changed state and a hint that she will soon die (81).

5.             The doctor said she died “of joy that kills”     We know she died of sorrow. Be careful to avoid summarizing plot when you discuss structure. Only discuss structure if there is a striking feature of its structure—surprise ending, flashbacks—and be sure to prove your topic sentence idea.


G.            Through her use of third person limited point of view, Chopin carefully structures the story so that we both raise our hopes of freedom for and with the protagonist but also must in the end acknowledge the inevitability of her defeat given the social forces arrayed against her.


1.             The story is told from a third person point of view, but we really only see into the mind of Louise Mallard.

2.             We have an intimate view of her transformation and thus a vested interest in its success, so that the reversal in the end has greater impact.

3.             When we have finished the story, we can go back to the beginning and appreciate that her fall was set up from the first paragraph.














































VIII.        What do you say? What is your own opinion?

  1. Conclusion. Why does it matter?p(6)

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Adapting to a new country

Adapting to a new country

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