The process of writing an essay on American literature should begin with the creation of an outline. The structure lists the essential points you want to cover in the paper and provides you with a framework you will use to write it.
The finished result should adhere to the initial list. However, you can modify it if you find new matters you want to discuss.
Without a clear outline, your American literature essay may appear weak and disconnected. A work that has one will appear more interesting and convincing, even if it contains the same ideas.
When writing an outline for an essay, you should first list all of the ideas that come to your mind when thinking of the topic.
They do not necessarily have to be contained solely within the work. For example, you can research the author’s life and identify a connection between his ideas and romanticism.
Then, you will reduce the number of ideas by folding some of them into other, related ones as lesser mentions. Lastly, organize the order in which you will cover the topics so that it follows a logical progression.
Here are some tips for your outline creation:
Always include an introduction and conclusion into your outline. They are critical elements for a literature essay.
When writing critical essays on American literature, try to associate each major point with an external piece of evidence.
Try to choose your themes so that they are connected. This will make it easier to maintain a progression between different topics.
Choose your titles and subtitles so that they are clear and concise.
To find American literature research paper ideas and American literature topics as well as samples that illustrate the process of outline creation, visit IvyPanda.
The central contradiction which people have been trying to comprehend for ages is between the good and the evil and life and death. An American novelist Herman Melville analyzes this discrepancy in his novel Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, which was written in the XIX century. The story is considered to be unique because of its […]
A 2010 nonfiction bestseller The Other Wes Moore: One name, two fates, depicts the true story of two namesakes from Baltimore. The two main characters with identical names pursue very different life paths, which are significantly influenced by their background and upbringing. In such a manner, Wes Moore contends that “public servants – the teachers, […]
Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye, written by J. D. Salinger became one of his most controversial novels and a cultural phenomenon. This book is one of the most widely taught and commonly banned works of literature of all time (Benson & Salinger, 2018). There are debates on the topic of the novel’s […]
The 20-th century introduced the industrial spirit to almost every country around the world. The change in the mode of production and a switch to an unfamiliar social system was quite difficult for most nations to put up with. High capital requirements, inherent to the industrial era, forced the majority of countries to create the […]
Feminism is a prevalent phenomenon nowadays that affects numerous life spheres. In addition to that, it is a central concept of various literary works. As a rule, many famous feminist stories, novels, and plays were written in the mid-late 20th century when there happened the most crucial changes to women’s rights. However, there are some […]
World literature consists of numerous examples when prominent writers turn to animal characters who are hardly distinguishable from human protagonists. The idea of such a trick is to convey a stronger message to the audience, as people relate to animals because they depict many human traits. Jack London is not an exception in this context, […]
Rural nature has always been a source of inspiration for many American writers. Jon Krakauer is not an exception. Extreme weather and challenging conditions are the perfect backgrounds for exploring people’s psyche. In his famous book Into the Wild, Krakauer studies a story of “a well-educated young man with an above-average intellect and remarkable spiritual […]
Introduction At the heart of The Bluest Eye lies a personal tragedy of an eleven-year-old African-American girl, Pecola Breedlaw. Living in the world owned by whites, the protagonist believes that her life would be more comfortable if she looked unique: blue eyes become a symbol of the desired appearance. After experiencing several terrifying incidents, such […]
Introduction The Kite Runner is a novel written by an Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. When Hosseini was a child, his family moved from Afghanistan to France, and then to the USA. This experience is partially reflected in the narrative of the author. Hosseini has written three novels, and The Kite Runner “has sold millions of […]
The portrayal of racism and its destructive consequences in literature serves the purpose of emphasizing the need to transform our society and respect the diversity of cultures. Tony Morrison is the author of the novel titled The Bluest Eye, which presents an overview of an African-American girl’s life and the challenges she encountered. This paper […]
Introduction Usually, authors of the most outstanding pieces of literature explain their attitudes towards some significant issues with the help of dozens of chapters and hundreds of pages. Many people believe that it is impossible to create a full-fledged literary work consisting of just a few pages except for stories for children and rhymes. However, […]
The issue of racism is prevailing in Gaines’s novel A Lesson Before Dying, wherein the author casts a shadow on the generalized attitudes toward black people in the American South of the post-WWII period. Wrongly accused of the crime by the all-white jury, the protagonist of the story is sentenced to death, facing racial discrimination […]
Introduction Almost every literary tradition can present the world with at least one child prodigy — the author of a sensational book that makes a significant impact on the whole world. Susan Eloise Hinton, who wrote her novel The Outsiders in 1965, is the American version of such cultural archetype.1After its publication, the novel was […]
Introduction The Coming of Age in Mississippi is one of the most influential pieces in African-American literature born in the period of active fighting for civil rights, against systematic racism and segregation. It was written and printed in 1968 by Anne Moody, a Black civil rights activist, as a form of autobiography.1 The story takes […]
Introduction Toni Morrison wrote her first and famous novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. The author tells the story about the tragic fate and death of Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl whose mother knew that her dark-skinned child would grow up ugly. The Bluest Eye “portrays the tragedy, which results when African Americans have no […]
Introduction In Ralph Ellison’s novel The Invisible Man, the protagonist narrates in the first person about his invisibility. He, as he refers to himself without considering his person a subject while being a real person, is made «of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids».1 He describes how people around are looking through him. The problem […]
Some people choose unconventional lifestyles to distinguish themselves from others or comprehend the purpose or sense of their existence. Into the Wild, a non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer narrates a story of such a man named McCandless who quit civilized living and started his wild journey across America. This paper will summarize the plot […]
Summary Published in 1927, Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” is a pinnacle of conversation; that is, more under the surface of the interaction between a girl named Jig and an American man. At first glance, this seems like a simple, sometimes intense communication between two adults waiting for their train, which is […]
An American writer Ray Bradbury is one of the most famous authors of the 20-21 centuries and one of the most ingenious anti-utopians in the world. In his works, the writer often discusses the topic of the human future and the inevitable degradation of people due to the loss of spirituality. Bradbury describes heroes living […]
The destructive power of the conflict in terms of human history is vividly manifested in The Most Dangerous Game novel written by Richard Connell in 1924. It is a strangely unique short narrative, depicting multiple conflicts throughout the entire plot with the battling nature of the main characters. More specifically, Rainsford, a big-game hunter from […]
Introduction The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel written by an outstanding American author Cormac McCarthy in 2006. It depicts the world destroyed by a global disaster, horrible activities of survived people, violence, and the unexpected love of the father and his son who travel across the country to the sea. This is the story of […]
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a novel about the difficult life of American migrant workers during the Great Depression. It uncovers the hardship of this historical period and reflects the author’s personal experience and knowledge about the lives of migrant ranch workers. Steinbeck invites the reader to think about each personage with […]
Non-fiction novel is a story about real people and real events, set forth using the dramatic techniques inherent in the book. The founder of this genre is considered the American writer Truman Capote, who in 1965 wrote the first report in the form of the novel In Cold Blood. The author defined his work as […]
Introduction Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th-century American writer who remains renowned for his input in the classical literature. Some researchers even phrase him as “one of the most significant and influential writers” of his age (Lei, 2015, p. 2164). Among the legacy of Hawthorne, it is worth mentioning The scarlet letter, a work which became […]
Introduction The Color Purple by Alice Walker is an epistolary novel about African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s. It addresses some crucial issues, such as segregation and sexism. This work was adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg in 1985 (Bay et al., 2015, p.169). More than that, The Color Purple […]
Introduction Despite covering the period of World War II, the novel A Separate Peace, the author of which is John Knowles, does not narrate about military campaigns and battles. Instead, it seems to draw a parallel between an external war and an internal struggle within an individual. This essay will give a summary of the […]
Introduction The generation gap is a persistent problem that prevents the younger generation from learning and finding their way in life. Tuesdays with Morrie by Albom is an explicit example of how accepting the authority of an older person can help the younger generation to deal with their emotional issues and set their priorities. Before […]
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel written by an African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston. This book secures a special place in American literature and remains the most famous work of the author. In this essay, the summary of the narrative and description of the main characters and themes will be provided. In addition, […]
Night by Elie Wiesel describes the author’s time at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, where he was sent by the Nazis together with his father, named Chlomo, in 1944. Throughout the months of misery and tortures, Eliezer’s relations with his parent change. To the teenager, the declined and helpless grown-up man becomes a burden, which […]
“The Mulatto,” or “Le Mulâtre,” is a short story written by the African-American writer Victor Séjour in 1837 that is commonly considered to be one of the earliest fiction works by US-American people of color. The story originally appeared in French, the native language of the author, in the Paris-based journal Revue de Colonies and […]
Introduction A family plays a substantial role in shaping a personality. This fact is a problem for children whose parents fail to pay proper attention to their upbringing due to various addictions. Jeannette Walls was such an unlucky child, and she described her growing up in a dysfunctional family in her memoir The Glass Castle. […]
To immerse oneself into the reality of The Giver, it is necessary to learn the crucial points about the personality of the author and the background of her most famous novel. Lois Lowry, an American writer, was born in 1937, and her writing career began in 1977 after publishing her first novel, A Summer to […]
O. Henry, an American writer, is famous for his short stories with an unpredictable ending. The Gift of the Magi is one of his masterpieces, which has become a traditional Christmas tale. In this story, the author shows a genuine love between young spouses, which is more precious than any material possessions. In this essay, […]
Introduction This year, the world celebrated the 100th birth of the famous American writer, Jerome Salinger. The anniversary has given rise to the new debate around his work. However, it seems that people have been reading and discussing Salinger’s most prominent book, The Catcher in the Rye, since its first publication in 1951. The book […]
The novel Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes is devoted to serious social and ethical topics – disabled people and the ethics of medical experiments. The author presents the story of a mentally disabled man who wants to become similar to others and agrees to undergo an innovative procedure. He obtains superior intellect but does […]
Introduction Anthem a dystopian novella by Ayn Rand, originally published in 1938. It tells the story of a man’s struggle with individuality in a society where it is forbidden. The novella’s central theme is individualism, its relation to progress and humanity, framed as a modern version of the Prometheus myth. It also makes use of […]
The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck in 1939, is a fascinating, vital, and truthful story giving a wide range of impressions to readers. The book is about the problems that American farmers faced during the Great Depression. The author describes people living in poor conditions and forced to abandon their homes to go […]
Jade Snow Wong is an American writer and ceramic artist of Chinese origin. She was born in Chinatown of San Francisco, California. Jade Snow Wong’s family included seven members, five children, and two parents. Being a daughter of the Chinese immigrants that grew up in China, Jade Snow Wong got to experience the traditional style […]
Simon Bronner in his book, Following Tradition: Folklore in the discourse of American Culture, views how Americans have adopted their traditions and, in times of need, altered them to suit the present situations in the new world. Composed of a myriad of communities, America has crumbled with different cultural traditional values, as well as multiculturalism, […]
Introduction Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote two stories by the title, “The Scarlet Letter” and “Young Goodman” in which he displays his authorial voice by mirroring the societies from their dark ends as shown by the puritan cultures. In “The Scarter Letter,” Hawthorne employs psychological fiction to display the innate evilness of human beings (Johnson 75). On […]
Introduction The American renaissance refers to the American literature in the 17th century era from 1840s through the Civil War period. The renaissance was characterized by efforts by American writers to develop literary works that reflect native issues such as American history, local dialect and geography. As such, the themes revolved around scientific progress, abolitionism, […]
Introduction The novel Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks highlights various themes that relate to parenthood and children upbringing. The protagonist, Chappie is a perfect teenager whose criminal mentality begins at childhood. Banks uses Chappie to highlight the theme of family institution and the effects of poor parenthood. This book review discusses Banks’ perspective […]
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale is a main character. In the novel, Dimmesdale comes out as a hypocrite. He is depicted as a kind man, full of wisdom and eloquent speaker. He is a respected clergyman. But he is involved in sin of adultery and he keeps it a secret for […]
Every story usually has elements of form that help bring out the message that the author has in mind. These elements help shape out the story and if well presented, they effectively contribute to ease of understanding, on the part of the reader. This essay seeks to explain one element of form and its presentation […]
The high school football drama, Friday Night Lights, is a great piece of literary work. This is a great television drama, which reflects different literary characteristics, just like other literary works, such as poems, novels, short stories, paintings, plays, and others (Heffernan 1). While there are non-literary works, they tend to be formal with clear […]
People rarely expect this kind of an instrument and this kind of a performer on stage, and the U.S., caught in the grip of the Great Depression, amidst the I and the II World Wars, could hardly believe that a plain Georgian man with a plain harmonica would win over the hearts of his audience […]
The epoch of the Great Depression was, doubtlessly, one of the most infamous pages in the U.S. history. However, it did spawn a number of literature pieces devoted to a number of social issues, as well as numerous literature renditions of the supposed end of American society as it was. Steinbeck’s and Babb’s novels, though […]
Introduction A folksong is a song that has the ability to adapt culture, human history, and art. Folksong usually employs the language used by the target audience when conveying its message. Furthermore, many people use folksongs to present their messages, feelings, views, opinions, and suggestions to a certain set of individuals. Significantly, the songs have […]
When one comes to think of it, the economical disaster of the thirties was quite easy to predict; completely devastated from the WWI, on the one hand, and being on the verge of the outbreak of the WWII, on the other hand, the entire world was slowly pulling itself together for the disaster that was […]
As inspiring and honest as they were, the songs that Guthrie sang were a product of its era. This Land Is Your Land appealed to the American citizens that needed cooperation in order to stay calm and united in the heat of the fight. Since modern U.S. citizens are unable to re-live the experience of […]
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