Quotes and Analysis: Blocks, Points, and General Themes
1. Do research to find the ideas or character types
that the author
uses in the works you will be discussing.
2. Find good quotes which illustrate some of these ideas first, before
writing anything else on your paper!
Put each quote in the middle of a separate
page (9-15 lines down),
leaving room for the later stuff which will go above and below your
quote. Quotes are the exact words of the source.
- Do not put any part of a quote or discussion on the back
of a page!
Treat the back as if it doesn't exist!
- For rough drafts, write in dark ink, in readable
with no frizzy paper.
3. Quoted passages must always be completely indented on the
Handwritten (for rough draft): left margin only and
B. Typed double-spaced is correct for whole paper [though Andrews
likes single-spaced quotes better!].
4. Quotes should not be too long, too short, too vague, or
A. Excessively long including much material not relevant to point.
Too short to have enough meaningful detail.
Summaries of general information which lack vivid detail of
people or conditions.
5. Quotes should be vivid and should clearly illustrate the idea
- Make quotes interesting, so readers can have an emotional as well
as an intellectual reaction to them.
- Make sure that the quotes have "bullability": good stuff that you
can discuss thoroughly.
6. Shorten long quotes to include the best parts of the incident,
using your own stylistic ability to
tie the best parts of the incident
together. Use the ellipsis […] if you leave stuff out, but don't overuse it.
7. Each POINT should be introduced with a clear and precise
definition of the idea
to be discussed in the following related blocks.
- Make sure that the idea is not too broad or too vague.
8. Introductory material of the BLOCK should include:
Appropriate transitional phrases (next, secondly, however, etc.).
A clear but short pithy statement telling the reader exactly what
you will prove in the following quote(s).
C. The author and title of the work the quote came from, if it would
not be redundant to give this information.
9. Background and context (very important!):
Give the who-what-when-where of the quote, so that the reader
isn't dropped into the middle of an unknown situation and expected
to understand an isolated quote.
summarize the information that will be in your quote before
you have given the reader the quote!
Give only a
general idea of the nature of the quote.
B. Lead into
quote with a transitional phrase
(often beginning with "when")
- For a smooth transition, make sure that the last words of the
transition match grammatically and stylistically with the first
words of the quote.
10. Analysis following the quote may include clarification,
judgment, and connections.
discussion of significant features of quote (not just
repeating what was just said in the quote).
In poetry, especially, as well as in prose material, one can look
at individual words and phrases which are unusual,
which graphically prove your point, and therefore need
- Do not
begin your analysis with the words
"This is a good example because..."
- Do not use the word "quote" anywhere in your paper.
B. Possible types of judgment:
use the word "I" or "you" when stating your opinion!]
1. Judgment: your opinion
as to whether the behavior of the
characters in the example is good or bad – or better or worse
than average and why!
- What would a
better person do?
- What would a worse
- What would an average person do?
Judgment: your opinion as to whether the author did a good job
of presenting the idea.
Technically, are the examples absurd or unrealistic or
b. Ideawise, is the author's presentation unrealistic or
Tell how and
3. Remedy: what could or should characters or the author have
done to correct the situations? Explain!
C. Connection: Give a contemporary application which illustrates
how the quote reflects human nature or situations that exist today
or at a different time or place than the
- Give enough concrete, specific details to prove to the reader
that you really understand your connection.
11. Points of themes may include two or three "blocks."
Therefore, don't be repetitious
in analysis of each block, saying the
same thing over and over in succeeding points.
Avoid repetitious analysis
A. Narrow analysis: Directly after the quote, use specific analysis
which refers to that specific quote.
- This may be
clarification and judgment relating only to that quote.
B. "Big Analysis": put general concluding statements, which
refer to all examples in a point, into a "big analysis" at the
of the whole point.
- A connection
might also go in this "big analysis,"
instead of putting a connection after each block, which might be
12. Do not use the following words or phrases in your paper
they are part of a quote: I, you, me, my, we, our, us, quote,
"This is a good example..."
- State your opinion
as an authority.
1st and 2nd-person personal pronouns weaken your argument.
Say "It is!" not "I think it is!" or "You might do this."