Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)
What’s the Change?
Introduce a quote in the same way you would introduce to someone something you are planning to do. A plan represents something new. A plan is not the same thing as something already done or in place. In other words, when you plan, you plan to do something that isn’t presently done, something that isn’t in a “finished” state. In addition, when you plan, your plan could either change something that is already in place or usher in something completely different and new.
Consider this scenario: Envision a woman who presently is a member of a lower social class. This woman wants so much to be a part of another class, a higher class such as the elite. She positions herself closely to one member of this type of society in hopes of him noticing her. When he doesn’t notice her, she develops another way to get the attention of this member of society. She goes where he goes. She tries to run into him so he can see her.
When all of these things fail, she uses her brother, for example, as an excuse to see the man she is interested in; both her brother and the man work for the same company. She takes lunch to her brother with the purpose in mind of seeing the man. Her hope, subconsciously, is to marry the man and marry into the elite class. She wants to change her present condition completely and move into another condition.
She is successful. All of her attempts to get the eye of the man she is interested in pay off. She gets him. She marries him. In the beginning, she wants him to teach her how to talk like the elite, how to act, how to understand the traditions of the elite, what to do when someone says something to her, how to let the maid answer the phone, and how to have tea with the other elite women.
She wants to change to become a representation of the elite class. What she doesn’t figure out until the end of her life is that she can wear the clothes on the outside, learn the speech patterns of the elite, and try to walk as the elite do, but what’s inside always has a way of coming out publicly.
For example, the woman’s past lower class speech has a way of coming out in arguments with her husband or through frustration when the elite ladies still don’t completely accept her. In addition, although she wanted her husband in the beginning to teach her the elite ways, each time he tried, she became offended at his way of explaining to her what she should and should not do. Although she felt as if he didn’t truly accept her, it was she who wanted him to change her!
The irony here is that even though this type of woman wanted to change, she wouldn’t allow herself to change completely because she didn’t let her mind change from her past condition to her present condition. She couldn’t fully accept the new, because she wanted to live in the old, even though she wanted to be new.
The most important thing to do when you incorporate a quote is to repeat exactly what the author has written. No one appreciates being misquoted. You should never make changes in meaning to a quote. Your changes, for example, in verb tense, can change the meaning of a quote drastically.
Using a present tense verb in your incorporation when the quote clearly uses a past tense verb can change the meaning of a sentence. In other words, your sentence should not begin in present tense if the quote is in the past tense (the woman in the present who can’t fully accept the present because she wants to live in the past).
When you introduce a quote that will require a change within the quote, make sure that both your sentence and the elements of the quote fit. Your sentence should not start with one idea and the quote represents a completely different idea. You can frame the quote by moving it around within a paragraph all day long, but if the quote just doesn’t fit, you can’t make it fit.
You can’t put on jeans that are three times smaller than your frame. You will choke yourself to death! Make only what is supposed to fit, fit. There are two types of changes you might have to make when incorporating a quote within your analysis.
Changes to Meaning: You may have to reconfigure your sentence to meet the standards of the quote itself. It is important not to change the meaning of the author’s original intention. Stay within the boundaries of the quote.
Changes to Grammar: You may have to change an element within the quote to meet the standards of grammar, which means you might have to change the tense of a verb. Changes to grammar may supersede changes to meaning. If such an occasion arises, address this issue within your analysis. Announce to the reader that you are going to change a grammatical term to fit the overall position of your essay.
Click here for “Changes to Meaning.”
Click here for “Changes to Grammar.”
Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.