Embedding Quotations: Tutorial


Purpose: Embedding quotations is a sophisticated way to allow the writer to use textual support in a purposeful manner. By embedding quotations the writing flows and is more concise.
  • Unembedded quotations are usually awkward and disrupt the flow of the writing. Often, the result is choppy writing and even run-on sentences.
  • Embedded quotes is simply using only part of the quotation that you need and embedding, or placing that quote within the context of your own writing.

EXAMPLES:
Serious room for improvement:
William Golding's book Lord of the Flies is about kids stranded on an island. Some of the kids are good and some are bad. "Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever" (Golding 180). So I ask you, what causes irresponsible behavior? Ralph is good, but Jack is bad.

Room for improvement:
There are bad kids on the island. One of them is Roger. He drops a boulder on Piggy and kills him. "Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever" (Golding 180). This caused Piggy's death.

A possible revision:
The truest form of wickedness on the island is evident in Roger. He demonstrates his true depravity when, "with a sense of delirious abandonment, [he] leaned all his weight on the lever" (Golding 180). Well aware of Piggy's place beneath him, Roger willingly takes Piggy's life.

Another possible revision:
Roger's murder of Piggy clearly illustrates the depths children can sink to without appropriate supervision. As he stood high above Piggy on the mountain, "Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever" (Golding 180). His willingness to welcome the moment with "delirious abandonment" clearly demonstrates the level of pleasure that Roger received by committing this horrific act.


Read the following examples from student papers and identify whether the quote is embedded or not: write “E” for embedded and “NE” for not embedded. For each unsuccessfully unembedded quotation, rewrite the sentence correctly embedding the quotation.

1. Most significant is Jane’s will to “venture to hope” for happiness and stability at Thornfield (250).


2. The town of Raveloe also sees a different side of him, so that “no child was afraid of approaching Silas when Eppie was near him” (125).


3. Gene pushes a limb of a tree just enough for Phineas to “tumbled sideways, broke through the little branches below and hit the bank with a sickening, unnatural thud” (60).


4. The townspeople have no need for him. “ . . .That if you could speak the devil fair enough, he might save you the cost of a doctor” (Eliot 3). They refer to him as the witch and attempt to communicate only due to his traditional healing skills.


5. The passage concludes with a final “melancholy wail”, developing the setting as mysterious and sorrowful (21).


Practice: Embed the following quotations from A Tale of Two Cities:

A. “When it was dark, and he sat before the coffee-room fire, awaiting his dinner as he had awaited his breakfast, his mind busily digging, digging, digging in the live red coals” (19).



B. “ ‘It is not often that many of these miserable beasts know the teast of wine, or of anything but black bread and death’ ” (34).




//*Note: Lord of the Flies examples courtesy of http://mciu.org/~spjvweb/weaving.html//