How to Organize an Essay for the Open Question

The following outline explains how to organize the writing


  1. Use the first sentence or two to make a connection to the prompt. This can be a general statement (no altruisms!), or it can use a quote (from the novel or prompt) that has something to do with the prompt or theme of the novel.
  2. In the third or fourth sentence you need to write your thesis statement. Be sure to use the novel, play, or epic’s title (be sure to underline), and the author/playwright’s name in your thesis. Double check your t-chart to make sure you are on the right track.



As stated by theorist Edward Said, “Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience,” yet it can also be “a potent, even enriching” situation. Many characters throughout literature have experienced some sort of exile, but not all of them have this paradoxical experience of both alienation and enrichment.  Mary Shelley’s monster from Frankenstein is a character who experiences this enigmatic exile which illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole concerning human nature.


Body Paragraph: (Sometimes two, sometimes three)

This is a good time to revisit your T-Chart to decide what task you will take on first. Continue to revisit your chart to make sure you have fulfilled all tasks within your body paragraphs.

  1. The topic sentence should point the reader in the direction you are headed. He or should not ask the question “Where is this student heading?” Think of the first task and discuss that in your topic sentence. Then the rest of the body should use examples from the story to show that you’ve read the story and can fulfill the first task.

Example: The Monster’s exile proved to be isolating yet he grew and learned a great deal from his situation. After Victor left the Monster to fend for himself because he was too disgusted over what he had created, the Monster had no choice but to figure out how to survive. Initially, the experience was one of difficulty. The Monster yearned for a companion, but when he would try to reveal himself to others such as in the case with Delacey’s family, he was met with violence and abhorrence. Although this task was difficult at times such as when he burned himself trying to learn about fire, or when he was shot for trying to help a young girl who was drowning, there were also times when he grew as an individual. The enriching part of the experience came in the form of education through observation. Even though he was sad an abundance of the time, he also was able to observe others and learn about human interaction, history, language, and most importantly love. Because his creator had abandoned him forcing him to live a life of exile, the Monster did not have a parental figure to show him the ways of life, but his experience left him with no other choice but to learn from spying on others which became rewarding for the creature. This experience serves to illuminate the meaning of the work.


The second body paragraph should fulfill the other task(s) asserted by the prompt. Once again, begin with a topic sentence that reveals where you are headed, and then use examples from the story to show you have read and connect to the prompt.



  1. Finish the essay by connecting how the message of the work you just analyzed applies to the overall human experience.

Exile can be an unfortunate punishment for someone. Even though the experience can be extremely lonely and depressing, it can also offer a time in which a person can reflect and learn new things proving to be somewhat fulfilling.