A Clear Case of Communication Breakdown
Introductory Paragraph: Edmond Rostand’s timeless work Cyrano b’Bergerac focuses attention on one
of the most basic difficulties the human race faces: effective communication. Wherever two, three or
more people gather, it is always an adventure of who hears what and what message they take away
from this encounter. Of course, when the human emotions -- love, pride, greed and others -- are
involved, it is even more complicated. Sometimes, it leads to tragic consequences. Rostand takes his
readers back to the time of romantic chivalry by focusing his play on the real life character of Cyrano
d’Bergerac. Through Cyrano, Rostand not only shares insights into his beliefs, but also shares truths the
world today would do well to take to heart.
I. The era of “Romantic Chivalry” sets the stage for both the mood and meaning of the work.
A. “Romantic Chivalry” defined
B. The aspects of “Romantic Chivalry” as seen in Cyrano
II. The real-life character of Cyrano is a key aspect of the play.
A. The true story of Cyrano
B. Comparison/constract of real-life Cyrano to fictional Cyrano
III. Rostand relates his beliefs about the difficulties of communication in Cyrano
A. His own tragic family history
B. The lack of communication was characteristic of France at his time
IV. The lessons of Cyrano reverberate today
A. Communication today is at a high premium
B. Personal communication is as difficult today as it was in Cyrano’s time
C. Emotional communication can be even more difficult in a computer-driven world
D. Breaking through the barriers of communication means avoiding the pitfalls of Cyrano,
Christian, and Roxanne.
NOTE: Notice how introductory paragraph focuses on key phrases of your
assigned topic -- time period, author’s life, work itself, and continued
relevance for today. ALSO notice formatting: Title is centered at top.
MLA format calls for all type to be double-spaced, to save paper on this
document, you may single space the intro paragraph. Type style and size
should be same as the rest of the paper. Maintain 1 inch margin all
around. If necessary, outline may go on to next page.
-- DO NOT USE THIS AS EXAMPLE IN FINAL PAPER LAYOUT!