Formal Outline Example

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Formal Outline Example

The outline on the next page is basically how I want you to formulate your outline. Although the content is not perfect, the outline itself follows basic formal outline rules and provides specific ideas and information from the primary sources for a reader to understand the flow and logic of the essay.

[Title of Your Outline]

  1. Introduction and Thesis

In Animal Farm Napoleon creates a false version of history to persuade the animals to support his actions, and in 1984, Big Brother goes a step further, his constant revisions of the past creating not so much a skewed sense of history as a continuous present. In both instances the citizens are deprived of an accurate sense of perspective and a faith in their own memories, and the result is that no fixed point from which to evaluate their rulers and the choices they are making. Though these techniques render most citizens powerless, when taken too far they can incite, rather than prevent, rebellion and thus become a potential liability to a totalitarian state.

  1. In Animal Farm, Napoleon creates a false sense of history and distorts the animals’

perspective to prevent them from criticizing and challenging him.

    1. Napoleon gets rid of his main rival, Snowball, by creating a false history in

which he is a traitor.

      1. Napoleon, with help from Squealer, even convinces the animals that their

memories of the Battle of the Cowshed, in which they recall Snowball fighting bravely for their cause, are wrong. In the new version, “just at the moment when Jones and his men got inside the yard, Snowball suddenly turned and fled” (80).

      1. After Squealer had “described the scene so graphically, it seemed to the

animals that they did remember it that way” after all (80-81).

    1. The animals are convinced that they are better off now than they were in the time

of Farmer Jones.

      1. Squeaker presents reports replete with false data to prove that life for the

animals are better under Napoleon than it was under Jones.

      1. The animas believe Squealer: “Jones and all he stood for had almost faded

out of their memories. They knew that life nowadays was harsh and bare. . . . But doubtless it had been worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so” (106-07).

      1. Of course, conditions are actually worse than they had been under Jones, a fact that is made clear by the human farmers’ comment that “the lower animals on Animal Farm did more work and received less food than any animals in the county” (125).

  1. In 1984, Oceania creates a continuous present so that the citizens cannot criticize


    1. Rewriting of documents to revise the past

    2. Manipulation of current reality as well as past keeps citizens completely off-


      1. To take one example, when Oceania shifts to being at war with Eastasia, no explanation is made. The official rhetoric simply changes mid-spiel and past documents are revised to match.

      2. The political speech “had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried onto the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd . . . Oceania was at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Report s and records of all kinds, newspapers, books . . . all had to be rectified at lightning speed” (149).

    1. Citizens rendered powerless to criticize government

  1. 1984 also illustrates that manipulation of memory and history, when taken too far,

can incite rebellion.

    1. Extreme psychological manipulation sparks Winston’s rebellion.

      1. Winston’s tendency to trust his own observations and memories

      2. Winston’s work in the department that alters historical documents

    2. Big Brother resorts to torture to get Winston to accept that his perceptions

do not matter and that his very reality is constructed by the will of the party.

    1. Big Brother regains control of Winston, but perhaps there is hope for others.

  1. Conclusion

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