When including quotes in your writing, it’s best to try to integrate the quotation into a sentence of your own. In other words, don’t simply say, “The author says,” and quote the author.
- Bad: The narrator says, “Who can even imagine me looking a strange white man in the eye?” (232)
- Good: The narrator asks if anyone could imagine her “looking a strange white man in the eye” (232).
Notice that the good example only quotes the core, the heart of the passage.
Another point to keep in mind is the use of pronouns. When you include a passage in which the narrator speaks in first person, the “I” can be somewhat confusing. It’s best to rework it to avoid the first person personal pronoun (“I”).
- Okay: At one point the mother says, “I used to think [Dee] hated Maggie, too” (233),
- Better: At one point the mother admits that she “used to think [Dee] hated Maggie, too” (233).
Steps to the Process
- Make sure you know clearly what the quote is supporting. This will some type of claim, and you will be using the quote to support that claim.
- Isolate the key portions of the quote that best support the claim.
- Rewrite the sentence using the key portions (from step two above).