MLA In-TEXT Citation Critical essays on a literary topic
Introducing Literary Quotations: • When writing about a single work of fiction, you do not need to include the author’s name each time you quote from the work. Mention the author’s name in the introduction to your paper; in your discussion of the work, refer, as appropriate, to the narrator of a story, the speaker of a poem, or the characters in a play. Make sure, however, that you do not confuse the author of the work with the narrator, speaker, or character. • INAPPROPRIATE : • Poet Andrew Marvell describes his fear of death like this: “But at my back I always hear/Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” (21-22). • APPROPRIATE: • The poem “To His Coy Mistress” says as much about fleeting time and death as it does about sexual passion. Its most powerful lines may well be “But at my back I always hear/Time’s winged chariot hurrying near” (21-22).
If you are quoting the words of a character in a story or play: • You should name the character who is speaking and provide a context for the quoted words. • Example, the quoted dialogue is from Tennessee William’s play The Glass Menagerie… • Laura is so completely under Amanda’s spell that when urged to make a wish on the moon, she asks, “What shall I wish for, Mother?” (1.5.140).
Quoting Short Stories or Novels: • If a quotation from a short story or a novel takes up four or fewer typed lines in your paper, put it in quotation marks and run it into the text of your essay. Include a page number in parentheses after the quotation. • Example: • The narrator of Eudora Welty’s “Why I live at the P.O.,” known to us only as “Sister,” makes many catty remarks about her enemies. For example, she calls Mr. Whitaker “this photographer with the pop-eyes” (46).
Quoting Short Stories and Novels: • If a quotation from a short story or a novel is five typed lines or longer in your paper, set it off from the text by indenting one inch (or ten spaces) from the left margin; do not use quotation marks. Put the page number in parentheses after the final mark of punctuation. • Example: • Sister’s tale begins with “I,” and she makes every event revolve around herself, even her sister’s marriage: • I was getting along fine with Mama, Papa-Daddy, and Uncle Rondo until my sister Stella-Rondo just separated from her husband and came back home • again. Mr. Whitaker ! Of course I went with Mr. Whitaker first, when he first appeared here in China Grove, taking “Pose Yourself” photos, and Stella-Rondo broke us up. (46)
Quoting Plays: • If a quotation from a play takes up four or fewer typed lines in your paper and is spoken by only one character, put quotation marks around it and run it into the text of your essay. Whenever possible, include the act number, scene number, and line numbers in parentheses at the end of the quotation. Separate the numbers with periods, and use arabic numerals. • Example: • Two attendants silently watch as the sleepwalking Lady Macbeth subconsciously struggles with her guilt: “Here’s the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand” (5.1.50-51).
Quoting Poems: • Enclose quotations of three or fewer lines of poetry in quotation marks within your text, and indicate line breaks with a slash with a space on each side. Include line numbers in parenthesis at the end of the quotation. For the first reference, use the words “lines.” Thereafter, use just numbers. • Example: • The opening of Frost’s “Fire and Ice” strikes a conversational tone: “Some say the world will end in fire,/ Some say in ice” (lines 1-2).
Quoting poems: • When you quote four or more lines of poetry, set the quotation off from the text by indenting one inch (or ten spaces) and omit the quotation marks . Put line numbers in parentheses after the final mark of punctuation. • Example: • The opening stanza of Louise Bogan’s “Women” startles readers by presenting a negative stereotype of women: • Women have no wilderness in them, • They are provident instead, • Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts • To eat dusty bread. (1-4)