Under the thesis statement that follows is a scrambled list of supporting ideas. Put the ideas into logical order by preparing a topic outline for each of the three topic areas.
Thesis: In today's world, people try to avoid silence as much as possible.
TV as background noise
Music playing in cafeteria
Stereos and radios on non-stop
Shouting vendors selling items on the street
Noisy places such as crowded beaches and
Talking on phones in student lounge
Read the essay below. Then, outline each section on a separate sheet of paper. Write out the thesis statement, list the main arguments and the reasons used to support each one.
Problems with Holidays
When most of us think about holidays, we have images of togetherness, happiness, and freedom from everyday cares. However, these pleasant pre-holiday thoughts can often turn into an unpleasant reality. The problems connected with holidays tend to occur in three areas--family situations, personal expectations, and finances.
Families can make holidays very trying times. First, for larger holidays such as Christmas, many families gather all the relatives in one place. Living with relatives, even temporarily, can be annoying. You discover, for instance, that Uncle Bob spends two hours in the bathroom every morning, and Aunt Helen performs dozens of noisy jumping jacks on the wooden floors of the upstairs bedroom. Besides the problems of close confinement, family get-togethers can also result in arguments and conflicts. Old wounds are opened and new ones inflicted. Aunt Helen will have one drink too many and remind your father that no one in their family thought Mom was good enough for him. Mom's simmering dislike of Aunt Helen flares up, the entire family takes sides, children start crying, and the grudges are carried long past the holiday season.
A second area of holiday trouble revolves around personal expectations. One expectation that can end in disappointment is the dream of a perfect gift. Your boyfriend shows up on Valentine's Day with a card, not a dozen roses; a shirt is sitting under the Christmas tree, not the stereo system you wanted. Another false expectation is that something important will happen. For instance, the hope that this Thanksgiving will finally be the one that brings you and your father closer together vanishes as the day turns into the usual round of eating and watching football, rather than talking in an intimate way. A last false belief is that the holiday will lessen loneliness and depression. But, in fact, holidays may do just the opposite. You will probably feel especially miserable if you have no special someone and there are couples all around you at the Easter or Christmas church service.
Finances are the final area of holiday difficulty. Employees may be asked to contribute to holiday charity drives, the boss' present, the secretary's gift, or the maintenance people's envelopes. Also, acting as the host for a holiday can be expensive. Having a pre-holiday party or a big family dinner on the day itself can cost well over a hundred dollars. The biggest financial pressure, though, is buying gifts for the family. You are under pressure to buy the Barbie Dream House, video games, or a fancy watch. If you don't buy the present a person wants, you feel like a guilty Scrooge; if you do buy it, you live in dread of January bills.
Whether the reasons are family situations, personal expectations, or financial considerations, holidays are often not the fulfilling experiences they are supposed to be. They can, in fact, be nerve-wracking.