Integrating quotes

Paper 1 assesses ones ability to integrate relevant examples into the commentary (Criterion A). What does it mean for an analysis to be "supported by well-chosen examples?" How do you integrate quotes seemlessly into the (comparative) commentary? 

In this lesson we will look at several strategies for embedding quotes effectively. We will also study both good and poor samples of student work, where examples are both well and poorly integrated. This lesson works well in combination with the lesson on the PIE method (Point, Illustrate, Explain).

In the end, one should realize that quoting a source is a skill that can be practiced. That is why this lesson offers a hands-on exercise, in which students have to embed several quotes into a sentence. Although this page appears as a skill for Paper 1, students will be able to apply this skill to all kinds of writing where sources are cited and points are illustrated with examples from primary sources. In brief, it is one of the basics of the Language and Literature course.

How integrated is the quote?

How do students usually make reference to texts in a commentaries? Here are a few examples of how students have illustrated points in previous commentaries. Using a scale of 1-5, where 1 is hardly integrated and 5 is very integrated, rate each example on how well it integrates quotes and lines from the primary source, i.e. the unseen text. Explain why you rated each example as you did.

 Integrating quotes

Student example Rating and comments
The two texts also focus on the familiarity of a city, which makes us love it. Text 1 describes this phenomenon in the following way: “It isn’t the strangeness of the place that draws us back; it is the familiarity, the sense of having found a home.”
3 out of 5 - The words 'this phenomenon is illustrated' work fairly well as a bridge between point and example. The colon does not integrate the example well, though.
Text 1 is from a guidebook, whilst Text 2 claims that a guidebook does not show “the real city” (line 16).
4 out of 5 - This method of integration is rather clever and subtle, as a small quote finishes a statement made about a text.
In Text 1, Paris has “inebriating scents” (line 12), which leads to its narrator falling in love with the city, whilst in Text 2, Paris “has edges, it has smells” (line 10).
5 out of 5 - This student uses a consistent, MLA (Modern Language Association) style of citation, where punctuation follows the line numbers that are in parenthesis. What's more, the small quotes make up the points that the reader is setting out to prove. Tres bien.
Text 1 supports this view by calling the “Siene [her and Michael’s] home” (line 18).
4 out of 5 - Again MLA style is used effectively, though the paraphrasing with brackets is rather cumbersome. Using phrases such as 'this view' or 'this point' effectively points the reader in the right direction. 
“Paris is poetry, Paris is mystery, Paris is beauty.” The character is in love with Paris.
1 out of 5 - This is an example of what not to do. There is a mental jump from poetry, mystery and beauty to 'love' that is not explained. There are no connecting words between the quote and the point.
This is in great contrast to Text 2, since the narrator expresses a dislike for drawing parallels between Paris and romance. “Paris is a city, not a romantic illusion” (line 4-5).
2 out of 5 - The quote seems broken off from the point it is proving, even though it is closely related. The full stop between this two sentences could be substitued with a comma and the words, "which we see in lines 4-5, 'Paris...'."
On a realistic description of Paris in lines 6-9, the narrator explains his point of view: “It is a working city, not a theme park. It has edges, it has smells. It has crankiness as well as its graces.”
3 out of 5 - The example, which is very relevant, serves a greater purpose than simply showing the narrator's point of view. It illustrates personification ("It has crankiness") and it clearly tells the reader what to expect from the city ("It is not a theme park").
In the first paragraph when the narrator expresses dislike, he uses slang, such as “hooey” (line 4) and “Baloney” (line 13), as well as words such as “cheesy” (line 13), which contribute to making the tone sound cynical. 
5 out of 5 - These kinds of sentences are ideal because examples are taken from various points throughout the passage to prove one focused point, that the reader is cynical. Line numbers, quotation marks and parentheses are all used correctly.

Integrate this!

After reading the comments and discussing your ratings as a group, you should have a sense of how to integrate quotes more effectively. Now it's time to put that knowledge to practice! Read Texts 1 and 2 below, on which the examples above were based. You do not have to write a complete commentary. Rather, write out complete sentences that illustrate the points given below with examples from the texts. 

Text 1
Adapted from the travel guide Romantic Paris
Thirza Vallois

It was early spring when Michael and I began to spend less and less time in the university library and more and more time at the corner café on rue Bonaparte where Hemingway[1] used to dine.

As the weather warmed up, we shifted our headquarters to the quays of the Seine, strolling at random along either of her banks, day in day out, and well into the lingering twilight and the night.

There were no freeways then, no crowds of sun addicts, just the odd drunk or fisherman… and the two of us, alone in the world.

By early May, forgetful of our end-of-year exams, we called the Seine our home. It was my first Paris spring, immaculately cloudless and coated with the wonderfully green sheen of fresh unblemished youth: rows and rows of chestnut trees drooping under the weight of their new pulpy leaves and graced, for a moment, with tapered clusters of pink and white blossoms.

The air was filled with the song of birds and with unfamiliar, inebriating[2] scents, and before I knew it my blood quickened and I was head over heels deep into a romance that ultimately changed the course of my life and turned me into a Parisian. Things came to a head on the first Saturday of May, when we raced up the Eiffel Tower for the fun of a bet, followed by the bliss of a midnight kiss at the western tip of the Ile St. Louis, across the water from the Notre Dame.

We whiled away the entire spring by the river, carefree and happy, engrossed in each other, indifferent to the hordes of American tourists who, drifting past us aboard a fleet of bateaux mouches[3], intruded upon our privacy through their camera lenses.

Paris is Poetry, Paris is mystery, Paris is beauty – the distillation[4] of all our passions. We come to Paris as to a stage on which to enact an episode of our love life, but before we know it we are caught under her spell and find out, to our atonshment, that it is Paris herself that has got under our skin, the one love that has no rival and that even time will never erode.

That spring I realized that Paris herself is a tale of passion, full of turmoil and fury and dazzling charm, the very essence of romance. And awed by the mystery, I succumbed[5].

[1] Hemingway: celebrated American writer who lived in Paris

[2] inebriating: to make drunk; intoxicating

[3] bateaux mouches: tour boats

[4] distillation: purest form

[5] succumbed: gave way to; was overcome 

Text 2
Adapted from the feature aricle See Paris the way real Parisians do in The Arizona Republic
Richard Nilsen

Ah, Paris! The Eiffel Tower, the berets, “La Vie en Rose[1],” haute couture, zee Fransh ak-sant, onion soup, vin rouge, escargot[2].


The Paris of movies and tourist brochures is, frankly, a load of hooey[4]. Paris is a city, not a romantic illusion.

There is traffic, there is noise, there is filth on the streets. On street corners, teenage toughs with shaggy hair make out with girls during school lunch hours, workmen carry long pipes of PVC[5] to replace worn-out plumbing, and cars stop midstreet to block those behind, while someone jumps out and opens the rear door to make deliveries, unaware.

It is a working city, not a theme park. It has edges, it has smells. It has its crankiness as well as its graces. Yet, Paris is still one of the greatest cities in the world. For some of us, the greatest, no contest.

Oh, you can still get a bowdlerized[6] version of the city from on top of a tour bus, with a cheesy[7] tour guide pointing out all of the familiar places: Napoleon’s tomb, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Pantheon, the Opera, the Louvre. But if you only look for the guidebook Paris, you will miss the real city. It is there to be soaked in, like the fragrance of a newly cut Camembert cheese.

The best way to discover the real Paris is to find a neighborhood to stay in, and then to walk the streets. You will hear the screams and chatter of schoolchildren playing at recess. You will find not only the boulangeries (bakeries), patisseries (pastry shops) and epiceries (corner grocers), but also the small shop where a seamstress can repair a torn trouser leg.

If you walk around your neighborhood, in a very short time, the tradesmen will begin to recognize you. They’ll smile and wave, perhaps ask about your family.

Bicycles are everywhere; so are motorcycles and scooters, making up most of the background noise of Paris, mixed with the perennial “eee-aaaw, eeee-aaaw” of the emergency vehicles = les pompiers.

I cannot know what others find in Paris, but this is what we find that keeps drawing us back. There is certainly an exoticism in a place where no one speaks your language and they eat kidneys and snails, but it isn’t the strangeness of the place that draws us back; it is the familiarity, the sense of having found a home – a spiritual home, a place where the people seem connected to the things we feel connected to.

[1] “La Vie en Rose”: signature song of French singer Edith Piaf

[2] vin rouge, escargot: red wine, snails – both traditionally enjoyed by the French

[3] Baloney: slang: foolishness

[4] hooey: slang: nonsense

[5] PVC: abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride, the plastic from which pipes are made

[6] bowdlerized: edited; sanitized

[7] cheesy: superficial, insincere

Write a sentence or two that illustrate each of the following points, using references to Texts 1 and 2:

  1. Both texts seem to place the reader in Paris through the use of imagery.
  2. Text 2 uses onomatopoeia, giving the reader a sense of Paris' sounds and chaos.
  3. Text 1 retells an account of how the narrator fell in love while in Paris, in order to appeal to couples who want to find romance there.
  4. Both authors feel an intimate connection with the city.
  5. Text 1 says that major points of interest (The Opera, Pantheon) are not what makes Paris interesting. While Text 2 includes these in the romantic vision of the city (Eiffel Tower). 
  6. Text 2 seems to make fun of the image of Paris that is created in Text 2.
  7. Text 1 uses asyndeton to create a dramatic feeling of authority ("Paris is Poetry, Paris is mystery, Paris is beauty").
  8. Both texts make use of personification to bring Paris to life for the reader. 
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