It’s impossible to write a literary analysis paper without incorporating quotations from a primary literary source. At first, sight, picking relevant quotes and putting them into your literary paper may seem like a no-brainer. But in reality, lots of students tend to make mistakes and often end up accused of plagiarism. To avoid similar problems, you want to make sure that each and every quote you use is properly formatted and woven into the fabric of your paper. For this, check out the simple tips provided below and embark on a fascinating journey towards a successful academic career.


Game, Writing, Writer, Video games
 

Why Use Quotations?

As with any academic paper, your literary analysis essay involves a good deal of research, analysis, and juxtaposition of facts, ideas, and opinions. Your primary purpose as an academic author is not only to analyze, interpret, and present certain facts to your audience, but also to develop an argument about what the text under consideration is about and/or what its author aims to convey. To that end, you need to choose relevant quotations to support your position and convince your readers of its validity. Bringing evidence before your readers is critical for the success of your entire paper. You need to present material from your literary work to make your case and reinforce your arguments, not simply to fill up space in your essay.  

How to Use Quotations?

You might have noticed that in strong essays, all quotes, both direct and indirect, are smoothly incorporated into the body paragraphs. Effective writers never quote just for the sake of quoting. As it has been noted above, quotations are used for shoring up your position and making your argument appear stronger. So, you don’t want to start your paragraph with a quote, unless you want to produce a particular stylistic effect on your readers and restructure your paper accordingly. Still, a traditional essay calls for a traditional structure.

To properly integrate your quote into your literary analysis essay, think of each quotation you introduce as a mini-essay in itself. To achieve the best effect possible, your quotation needs an effective introduction and conclusion. Thus, you should start by stating your argument or presenting a certain idea. Then, you want to introduce a relevant quote to weave your own ideas with those of the original author. After that, you want to summarize your quotation, especially if it is sophisticated, long, or otherwise difficult to understand. Still, you can safely skip this step if the quotation is easy to understand. Instead, put enough effort into thoroughly analyzing it. For this, break down the quotation at hand and provide your own commentary on its meaning.

How to Format Quotations?

Every quote that appears in your paper should flow not only logically but also grammatically with the rest of your writing. Not to disrupt this flow, make sure to incorporate quotations that have an optimal length. The first time you use your quote, make sure to give credit to the author and the literary piece you’re quoting from. So, if you’re using a quote from Harper Lee ’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” you want to format it as follows:

As Harper Lee notes in her famous novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for’ (91).

As you see, you may be required to indicate the page number in parentheses. But formatting requirements may differ from citation style to citation style.

You may want to omit some parts of long quotations, provided that they don’t detract from the quality of your argument. Should this be the case, use an ellipse (…) between each part. For block quotations that take up much space, don’t forget to indent it and don’t enclose it in quotation marks. For example:

Atticus Finch defies the warped sense of morality inherent in the society mired in bigotry:

Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who - who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results (Lee, 123).  

Don’t forget to draw a parallel between your own argument and the argument expressed by the author, the one that your quotation aims to convey. Explain in detail how this particular quote adds to your argument. If necessary, analyze different parts of your quotation to provide a comprehensive insight into the significance of this quotation to your argument.

 

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