|Outline for “The Box Man” by Barbara Lazear Ascher
I. The Box Man was at it again.
A. It was his lucky night.
B. The first stroke…toward them. (Description of location and author’s attitude toward Box Man) 2
II. It was slow going. (Clear physical description of Box Man as he begins his ritual) 3
B. earth with toes
C. …he shuffled across the street (towards the boxes which leads to the next paragraph)
III. …he began to sort through the boxes… (Description of his sorting method. He chooses one which leads to the next paragraph) 4
B. tosses three aside
C. he has purpose
D. …he dragged it up the block and dropped it in a doorway.
IV. …he set out again and discovered behind the sign at a parking garage, a plastic Dellwood box…(Transition from looking for boxes to setting up his box home) 5
A. description of boxes
B. description of box home
C. comparison to “regular” home with couch and coffee table
D. plastic bags distributed around him
V. He eased himself with slow care onto the stronger box, reached into one of his bags, pulled out a Daily News, and snapped it open against the cardboard table. (Description of Box Man as a regular normal person) 6
A. comparison to commuter and a Wall Street Journal
B. folding paper
C. respectful with eyes
D. That’s just what the Box Man did…(This is the conclusion to the paragraph even though it is set off as its own paragraph. This is done for emphasis to show the normalcy of the Box Man’s life) 7
1. compare to grandmothers
2. tongue to finger
VI. One could live like this…(This one sentence is set apart as a paragraph because it is the main point of her essay. She has inserted it here to keep the reader attune to why she is describing the Box Man and to transition into the next piece of the essay which is her comparison to The Boxcar Children, a book she read as a child, which leads the audience to believe that perhaps we had our lives figured out correctly when we were children) 8
VII. If I remember correctly…(comparison to novel) 9
A. orphaned children
B. live on own terms in boxcar
D. Thoreau comparison-deliberately trying to live simple as opposed to children who do so naturally.
E. …theirs had the ease of children at play (transition to explanation of comparison)
*Here I am skipping ahead, away from outline form.
10 explain comparison
11 Box Man and Boxcar children have in common simplicity
12 Box Man has a life of the mind and chooses solitude
13 introduce difference between solitude and loneliness, example of this loneliness in description of woman at restaurant.
14 continue description of woman to emphasize loneliness
15 continue description of woman to emphasize loneliness
16 rhetorical questions about woman to make the audience think and answer the questions for themselves, have they chosen solitude or loneliness?
17 description of woman in apartment, another example of loneliness
XI. The Box Man welcomes the night… (Contrast Box Man to two female examples of loneliness and transition from description of woman) 18
B. not waiting
D. People have tried and he shuffled away. (show he chooses this life and transition into choosing solitude is better than loneliness.
XII. The Box Man knows…(Explaining main point about loneliness and solitude using the Box Man as an example.) 19
A. we know about solitude
B. harmony wanted
C. …this is a solo voyage. (wraps up main point in paragraph and leads away from Box Man to universal life.
XIII. We might as well draw the night around us and find solace there and a friend in our own voice. 20
A. children understanding solitude
B. teenagers understanding solitude
C. Adults and solitude
D. compare to literary figures
E. Clincher One could do worse than be a collector of boxes. (Bring back example and give the audience something to think about. What do you collect?)