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Below is a sample outline used in the composition of this paper. Each roman numeral point became a topic sentence in the paper, with the subpoints becoming the evidence supporting the main idea described in the topic sentence. Note that the introduction for the paper is composed of the topic sentences of each paragraph, written without the supporting evidence. The idea of each topic sentences builds on or refines the idea of the previous. The last idea reached by those sentences is the thesis. If the logic of the introduction works, then the paper should itself be logical.
When I wrote the paper, I tried to improve the more roughly written topic sentences of the outline, I filled out the reasoning and analysis only pointed to in the subpoints, and I also had, for reasons of space, to eliminate some points (also, for the sake of simplicity, eliminated from the outline here).
In the outline below I've put in bold the transitional words, logical words, and references back to previous points that I've used to try to express relationships between points so that the paper is focused and develops its idea.
I've underlined the key terms that I've tried consistently to use to keep the focus of the paper.
Thesis: If Brooks seems to argue against art, she does so in order to honestly reckon the costs of art--of the war waged in its name--in a way that would justify art.
I. Poem at first seems to suggest that one must fight a war on behalf of art