Following is an example of how you might use this outline. The sample essay has been
outlined for you.
Theme statement-- In “A&P” John Updike develops a theme of maturation.
2-3 sentences introducing premise of story and character- The story is
essentially a coming of age story where the protagonist Sammy makes an immature
decision that he believes is an adult thing to do. Unfortunately for Sammy, his chivalrous
act goes unnoticed by Queenie and her friends, and he is left to face the consequences of his
Thesis- In “A&P,” Updike illustrates that Sammy’s immaturity results from his
judgmental attitude, disrespectful personality, and sexist beliefs.
BODY PARAGRAPH 1
Topic Sentence-- First of all, Updike depicts Sammy as judgmental toward his
customers, co-workers, and family.
Transition – no transition (it’s not as critical here.)
Supporting point 1-- He constantly refers to the shoppers as
Quote--“sheep pushing their carts down the aisle,”
Explain/relate quote to point-- insinuating that they are blindly following each other and
that they are stupid
Transition – Furthermore
Supporting point 2-- when he mentions his coworkers’ attitudes toward the girls, he seems
to condemn them, forgetting that he himself has been doing the same thing
Quote-- For example, when he notices McMahon “sizing up their joints,” he says he feels sorry
for the girls (825).
Explain/relate quote to point-- Sammy immaturely judges his co-worker without being
able to see the same mistake in himself.
Transition -- Finally
Supporting point 3--Sammy quickly judges Queenie to be of a higher social class based
solely on her voice.
Quote--He imagines a cocktail party at her house, suggesting the “men in ice-cream coats and
bow ties” are drinking drinks “the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint” (826).
Explain/relate quote to point-- When he relates a party scene from his own home, he
imagines people drinking malt liquor rather than martinis.
Concluding sentence --Sammy childishly makes impulsive judgments about everyone he
sees, never attempting to look beneath the surface.
BODY PARAGARPH 2
Topic Sentence -- Sammy also exhibits disrespect throughout the story.
Supporting point 1 -- He shows little respect for age or experience.
Quote -- On one instance, he claims the fifty-something woman, who chastises him for ringing
her crackers up twice while he is ogling the girls, is a “witch … [who] if she’d been born at the
right time they would have burned her over in Salem” (Updike 824).
Explain/relate quote to point -- His disdain for this woman—and in fact for all the
Transition – Likewise,
Supporting point 2 -- he arrogantly claims that the only difference between him and Stokesie
Quote -- that Stokesie has “two babies chalked up on his fuselage” (825).
Explain/relate quote to point -- His crude reference to Stokesie’s virility and his failure
to acknowledge the older man’s life experience exhibit Sammy’s complete lack of maturity
Supporting point 3 -- when Sammy impulsively quits his job, he speaks rudely to Lengel, his
Quote -- It is only after Sammy has quit and openly contradicted Lengel that the readers learn
Lengel “has been a friend of [Sammy’s] parents for years” (827).
Explain/relate quote to point -- Lengel tries to talk Sammy out of the decision, even
reminding him of the burden his decision will be for his parents,
Concluding sentence -- Sammy never considers how his actions might affect
someone else and simply walks out of the door.
BODY PARAGRAPH 3
Topic Sentence -- Sammy’s immaturity is also evident in his chauvinistic thoughts
Supporting point 1 -- His descriptions of the three girls focus on their physical attributes,
specifically on their breasts and behinds.
Quote -- He comments on Plaid’s “soft looking can” and on Queenie’s “two scoops of vanilla”
Explain/relate quote to point -- He has reduced these girls to nothing but body parts.
Transition -- In fact,
Supporting point 2 -- when he contemplates what Queenie might be thinking
Quote -- he wonders if her head is empty or “a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar” (824).
Explain/relate quote to point -- In his mind she and the other girls are objects, not human
Transition -- Even the nicknames he makes up show the sexist attitude of an immature teenage
Supporting point 3/Quote -- Referring to the one he likes as “Queenie,” to her tall friend
as “Big Tall Goony Goony” or other female shoppers as “houselaves” indicates that women in
his view have no place or identity beyond themselves(825).
Explain/relate quote to point -- indicates that women in his view have no place or
identity beyond themselves
Transition – further
Supporting Point 4 -- His false-chivalric gesture at the end reveals his immaturity.
Quote -- He assumes that the girls need an “unsuspected hero” to save themExplain/relate to
point --, that they cannot take care of themselves or handle a little embarrassment (827).
Concluding sentence -- Clearly, Sammy has much to learn about heroism, chivalry, and
Reworded thesis -- Sammy proves to be completely immature in his actions and attitudes
Reiteration of main points -- He makes judgments about people based solely on
impression, never considering or admitting that he may be wrong. He exhibits a lack of respect
for his elders, even discounting the experience and maturity of his friends. Lastly, he reveals that
he is a blatant sexist, focusing on the girls’ bodies and giving degrading nicknames to women.
ZIP IT! -- Sammy’s immaturity culminates in his decision to quit his job, an impulsive action
that produces no effect whatsoever on his damsel in distress.
1. Notice that each body paragraph is made up of three sections (chunks)
that include a transition + a supporting point + a quote or example + an
explanation relating that quote/example to the main point (commentary).
2. Sometimes there is no need for a transition before the first chunk of
3. Sometimes all parts of a chunk can be combined into one sentence.
However, it is not wise to make every chunk one sentence. Use a variety of
lengths for each chunk of information.