Presentation on theme: "QUOTE INTEGRATION Ms. Howell’s Guide to Providing Solid Evidence and Commentary."— Presentation transcript:
QUOTE INTEGRATION Ms. Howell’s Guide to Providing Solid Evidence and Commentary
BASIC IDEAS In literary analysis, quotes are the lifeblood of the piece. Without evidence, there is no real argument. Without an argument there is no essay. Although you need quotes as evidence, you don’t simply slap them into the paper and call it good. You have to both grammatically and thematically incorporate them into your paper.
WHAT NOT TO DO Don’t leave a quote hanging. It needs to be incorporated grammatically into the sentence that it accompanies. Sometimes you have to alter a quote a little in order to make it fit grammatically into a sentence. If you don’t, it throws the reader off. Don’t include bits of the quote you don’t plan to use. Don’t exclude bits of the quote that are ESSENTIAL to your paper.
HOW DO I DO THIS?! For starters, don’t panic. There are a number of strategies available to help you integrate quotes seamlessly so that you don’t end up with a paper that looks like Robert De Niro over here.
PUNCTUATION IS YOUR FRIEND In cases where you are connecting a quote to a introductory clause, you can incorporate the quote by using some form of punctuation. The punctuation mark you use largely depends on the length, content, and context of the quote and the text that precedes it. Very often you can use this technique to seamlessly incorporate your quote.
YOUR THREE BFFS The comma, semi-colon, and the colon can be veritable lifesavers when it comes to quotations. Bear in mind that the standard grammar rules for each of these bad boys remains the same, so you have to be careful of how you integrate your quotes so that you don’t unwittingly create fragments or run-ons.
EXAMPLE: COMMA As Walton clearly indicates, “Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!” (Shelley 29)
EXAMPLE: SEMI-COLON Frankenstein’s misfortune is alluded to early on as Walton compares the poor man to a ship destroyed by the storms it has weathered; “Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!” (Shelley 29)
EXAMPLE: COLON As Walton foreshadows Frankenstein’s fate, the reader clearly sees that there are only remnants of the greatness that Victor once had, and that he has descended into irreparable desolation: “Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!” (Shelley 29)
ALTERING THE QUOTE Sometimes a quote needs to be altered in some way in order to make it fit grammatically into your sentence. Normally you can fix this problem by using brackets to indicate parts of the text you have altered. In other places, it may make sense to cut out sections of the text that you may not need.
EXAMPLE QUOTE “Now I am twenty-eight and am in reality more illiterate than many schoolboys of fifteen. It is true that I have thought more and that my daydreams are more extended and magnificent, but they want (as the painters call it) keeping; and I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and affection enough for me to endeavor to regulate my mind” (Shelley 19).
WHY IT NEEDS REDUCTIONS While the quote is lovely and detailed, you may not need all of it to make your point. If you include a huge quotation, the assumption of the reader is that you will discuss ALL of it, and not merely one part. If you only need to discuss one or two ideas in the quote, then it is completely reasonable to only include those ideas. This will, of course, require that you pare the quote down to the most important pieces.
OMITTING TEXT: EXAMPLE As Walton indicates to his sister, “…I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and affection enough for me to endeavor to regulate my mind” (Shelley 29). This need for companionship clearly illustrates that Walton cannot feel completely at ease without someone to affirm his own ambitions. But these ambitions are tied to “romantic” notions which, while admirable, are perhaps irrational.
OMITTING TEXT: EXAMPLE 2 Walton often comments about his lack of companionship, often indicating that he needs someone to share in the “romantic” notions he wants to pursue: “…I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and affection enough for me to endeavor to regulate my mind” (Shelley 29).
ALTERING/IMBEDDING QUOTES Sometimes it will make more sense to incorporate the quote by imbedding it into the rest of your sentence. Depending on what precedes or follows the quote, you may need to grammatically alter the quote so that it fits in with the rest of the sentence. Otherwise, you will have an incorrect sentence.
BRACKETS ARE YOUR FRIEND When Walton discusses his lack of companionship, he mentions that “…[he] greatly [needs] a friend who would have sense enough not to despise [him] as romantic, and affection enough for [him] to endeavor to regulate [his] mind”(Shelley 19). The bracketed words indicate places where the text has been altered to make it fit the sentence. Specifically, I have changed all first person pronouns to third person, and only altered one verb.
WHY THIS IS LEGAL In academic writing, brackets simply tell your reader that the original text is written differently from the quote you provided. As such, you are still paying homage to the original writer’s ideas, but with a slight variation to make it fit your purposes in terms of grammar/emphasis.
WHAT NOT TO DO WITH BRACKETS You should only use brackets to grammatically alter a text, as in the example I gave you where I simply switched pronouns. You should never use brackets to thematically change the text, or “tweak it” to make it say what it does not say. While most readers may not see the distinction, a professor who knows her stuff will be able to call bullsh*!.
WORD FROM THE WISE I got my degree in this stuff, so I know categorical bull when I see it. Don’t try me.
ELLIPSES… The same basic rules behind brackets also apply for the our friend the ellipsis (…). When you use ellipses, you are indicating that you are purposely leaving out a section of the text. As such, it is implied that there was more to it than you are using. It is also not an excuse to alter the overall meaning of the text.
POHLMANN METHOD If you are familiar with what I term the “Pohlmann Method” of quote integration, it also works in these cases. There are, of course, some caveats to the method in my opinion, and integrating quotes this way can sometimes cause more confusion than clarity. If you are not familiar with Pohlmann’s style, no worries.
MS. HOWELL’S ISSUES From what I’ve “seen,” “Pohlmann’s method” lends “itself to creating” “choppy incorporation of” quotes. Very often, I “have found” that students abuse “this method” as a way of “making it look like they are using evidence” whereas, “in fact”, they are just taking up space. As such, while many students think that this method shows that they are effectively using evidence, for the most part I only see what was supposed to be a full idea. Also, the sheer amount of quotation marks is a bit distracting.
WHEN IT WORKS Pohlmann Method works best when you need to integrate shorter quotations whilst keeping them grammatically within a single sentence. It also works well if you are using evidence that comes from two different sentences in the text, and you want to integrate them to show their thematic significance.
WHEN IT DOESN’T WORK Um, look at the example on from two slides ago. If your evidence looks like this, it’s quite likely that you are ABUSING the method. While I have no problem with lifting small portions of text, I do take issue with splitting a unified idea into fifteen different pieces. In those cases, the full quote itself would be better. For the most part, I feel that it is better to give the full quote, and then break it down into shorter bits that are part of your analysis.
FOR YOUR REFERENCE Attached to the class website is Dr. P’s explanation of how to integrate quotes PROPERLY, so check it out for further practical examples. That’s all for now.